“A Glimpse of my Daddy”

When I was a young girl, I prayed for a baby for our family. Many birthday wishes  and prayers were always the same, “Please, Lord, give our family a new baby”  It was my quest! When I was 12 and my sister was 15 , my prayers were answered when we got our little brother. William Reed McMahon, Jr.  We all were excited. I remember so well when Mother told us how my big, strong Daddy, actually cried with tears of joy when he saw our Billy for the first time.

 

My Daddy lived a life filled with ladies. At any one time in our home, for special occasions, there would be 8-10 ladies around the table.  His mother, his sister, his mother in law, his grandmother in law, aunts, friends of his mother in law and her mother, mother and of course, Anne and me.  Daddy would be the lone man at the end of the table. He loved every one of those ladies and willingly would help when asked if he could do something for one of them. I never heard him complain, wishing he didn`t have to spend time helping, or wishing he had time for himself. His heart was so full of love and compassion ,that is just came naturally.

He loved well. It was only natural that when he saw his son that God gave him, he was over joyed. Oh the things they would do together and the things that he would teach his son to build. We all were blessed and our family was complete.

Daddy had only 8 years with this son of his before God took him home to be with Him. Our lives changed forever that year when cancer invaded our little family. Memories had been made with his son, our Billy, but as the years have gone by, those memories have faded for him. He only had 8 years to know his Daddy. I had almost 20 years to engrave it all in my heart. I can still see in my mind, his love and kindness and  he fleshed out for others.

God gave me a physical glimpse of my Daddy the other day, through this grown son of his, my little brother.  We three siblings, Anne, Bill and I,  met for lunch with our aunt, Daddy`s sister, who is going to be 80 this year. We were discussing some upcoming events about her car and what needed to be done. After trying to figure out the best thing to do, my brother looked at her and asked, “would you like for me to go with you one day next week to the dealership to talk to them?”  As he offered to take off from work, to help, she nodded her head and said,”yes”, with a feeling of relief. He said, “no big deal, I will be glad to.”

At that moment, I looked at him and said, “you are just like your Daddy” It was just so real, as if I was seeing Daddy, all those years ago, saying those same words to any one of those ladies who depended on him.

Today, all of those years later, I still pray for that baby boy, that has now grown up.  The prayers have changed to prayers of praise. I thank God that during those 8 years he did life with his son, Daddy taught him a lifetime of love and compassion for others, and in doing so,  taught him to shine for Him.

Love you Daddy….

New Beginnings

New Beginnings

Spring is when everything comes alive. The sun is out longer, flowers bloom and new
life is everywhere. It is a beautiful cycle filled with brushstrokes from the Master painter.

Original painting by Jane Lazenby

New Look

As this season of spring comes, so does a new beginning for me.
I am excited to share my new look and new website for Jane Lazenby Art.

New Web Site

My team and I have been working for months to make it fresh, clean and easy to navigate.

 

New Shopping Opportunities

I now offer an online store where you can browse and purchase directly off the site. There will be new original art, prints, note cards, invitations, custom orders and some special surprises. I will also be out and about in the community selling my works at Pop-Up Shops and Markets. Be watching social media to see where I will be in the future.

Expressions of Grace – the book

I am also very excited to announce my first book, Expressions of Grace, which will be available in a few months.  This book will feature my custom artwork and stories designed to draw the reader  into deeper spiritual truths.

So much more to share about the book, that will be on the blog as we get closer to the release.  It has been a dream of mine for years. God`s timing has made the process begin this  year through people He has placed in my life to team with me. I can hardly believe that it is really happening.

“Write down the vision, for the vision is yet for an appointed time. though it tarries, wait for it. It will certainly come, it will not delay” Habakkuk 2:2-3

“Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book” Jeremiah 30:2

 

Take a look around and comment what you think about the new site. I always enjoy hearing from you!!

Thank you all so much for following me, for commenting and encouraging me with your kind words. I look forward to this new season and being able to walk it with each of you.

Happy Spring!!

“Hey, guess what?”

Do you ever have the urge to pick up the phone , and say “Hey, guess what ?” only to realize that conversation isn`t going to happen?

Over seven years, and I still think about doing it sometimes. After all of those collected years of talking each day and then no more . No more of those talks or those days of sharing and laughing. The urge to do it is hard to let go …some days….

Seasons constantly happening. Excitement ,disappointments, hopes, dreams, big things, insignificant things, all reminders of days past when you could pick up the phone and say, “Guess what?”!! It is not so much even the news, or words that were shared but the constant encouragement through each journey that would be shared. . No matter what, good or bad, always the same reaction and love felt. ..

Her name? Mother

 

She is still with me as i wear her hand written LOVE around my neck. She is still with me in my journey, as I remember those conversations . My heart smiles and I think of what Winnie the Pooh said, “how lucky I am to have had something that makes it so hard to say good bye”

As my art journey continues, she is there….

The Finish line

The diagnosis

The battle began late spring. The words stung as we heard her say them, “Breast cancer”.  Everything after that went very fast. The surgery, test results, chemo, side effects, more tests and then radiation. Her life was all mapped out for her, each day, each moment.   She took on the task of getting through these unbelievable hard days, with grace. She never complained. She always had a smile on her face and a hug to share when she saw you. She sent her daughter off to college in the midst of this journey, with a mamas heart of love and concern. She has loved her sons from afar as they are both out of town.  Her sweet Robert, a constant by her side, is there for her each day.

Happy Birthday  Emily 

She celebrated her birthday with friends on her front porch with the usual head dress that is so common after chemo. She looked beautiful.  Hymns were sung and prayers lifted up for her that day on her front porch, and He radiated through her.  She embodied what He tells us to do. Her trial and journey  has not been easy. She has been an inspiration to all who have had the privilege to walk with her during this season.  God has been her comfort, His words, her armor.

“So do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”. Isaiah 41:10

“The sufferings of this present time are not worth to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us? Romans 8:18

God can take the worst life brings and turn it into something good if you put your trust in Him. He is in the business of turning chaos into a masterpiece when we turn our life over to Him.

The Finish Line

The finish line has always been a date in the future to strive to get to. Each battle, crossed off and another one started. But today is different. Today is the finish line she has been looking for. Surgery, done. Chemo, done……. and now…. radiation, done!!!  Today is the last day of her radiation. What celebration is in store for sweet Emily today.  A day of rejoicing indeed.

Today, I am thankful for our sweet friend. Thankful that He has been with her each step and has given her hope that through this journey, He is at the finish line. He has planned her life and she has done this season well.

Prayer for Emily

Lord, we thank you for Emily and her life. We thank you for how You have been there with her and have given her strength and courage to walk this path for you. We thank you for how she shines for You even on the darkest days of her journey. We boldly ask you to continue to protect her, heal her and give her new strength daily as she continues this life you have planned for her.

 

She learned to strive for Progress not Perfection

 

 

Progress not perfection

 

I wrote this a few weeks ago. I sat on it, deciding if I wanted to go public with my thoughts or not. But as I come across it this morning, I find my thoughts are still the same but circumstances have changed in the world for a brief moment of time. Harvey has devastated Texas and Louisiana. Many good people have come together to help each other, whatever their beliefs are. Now, Irma has pounded the south and is still on the direct path to many more. I see again, the good in people, as they offer help to those in need. That is what our country is all about. Where and when did it go in a different direction? When these storms are over, when lives are being put back together, I pray for these new opportunities to help and love our neighbors,  that they don`t get wasted. I pray that people will see others that are put on their hearts, and in their minds… and in their paths and that will become the new norm,  the new priority, to reach out to others in love.   I pray that these words that I wrote several weeks ago, become bad memories of the way it was….

 

I walk a very fine line these days. Be observant  and watch the news and get angry and stressed about it or just let it go and not worry about what is going on in the world. Sadly, I would much rather let it go, but it is reality, it is life, it is the life we are living and if we don`t pay attention, we have no idea how truly bad the world is getting. So, as I am waking up this morning, getting those last few moments of bed time before we actually get out of bed,  I turn the news on to get started for the day.

I watched a grown man weep openly because of something the president said or didn`t say, because of the amount of time it took him to say something or time it took him to say the words that this man had decided were the wrong words. I watched as young people with weapons rioted in the streets then climbed up on a public statue to tie a rope around it and pull it down. I listened as there was talk about doing this to all statues that represented the past in some way. I heard talk of changing names of parks and roads. I saw an article about a man that had turned himself into a woman and was “married” to a woman turned man, raising a child who is a boy by birth but they didn`t want to confine “HIM” to being a male, so they didn`t mention his gender and said that they would leave it to him, what he wanted to be. He was allowed and encouraged to wear girl clothes and play with dolls.

I watched as a young collage student told how she had interned for the summer in Washington and had the privilege to have her picture taken with the vice president and post it on her facebook page. I heard her speak of how she has been ridiculed  by friends and family who said hateful things to her about being in the picture with someone they did not approve of.

I listened to people blast whatever, whenever and however the president breathes.  He must be so weary of fighting each day against people who have declared war on him.  There is no light shining for people to see what good things are being done, because the war of evil and entitlement and free speech is so loud and dark.

I weeped silently in my heart for things of the past. The carefree youthfulness that is no longer for our children and grandchildren. The long summer days of playing in the yard and walking around the block, leaving doors unlocked for neighbors to come in.. Political correctness has replaced it all. Silence is not always GOLDEN.  Now is the time to boldly speak up and speak out. When did wrong become right? Seems it just happened over night but if we do not speak out, it will continue and slowly become the norm. If you are surprised or dont know what I am talking about, then you must be the one who decided to just let it go, and dont watch the news.. which is not a bad thing altogether…. just dont see the bigger picture of what is really happening, slowly, day by day.

What if people destroyed public property and there were consequences and the police took them to jail and they were held responsible for what they had done and possibly were arrested for destruction of public property?

What if freedom of speech was taken to the next level and people were hurt and properties set on fire, and police stepped in without being afraid of  being shot and being called names and started arresting people?

What if you threatened the President of the United States by mocking a beheading of him or assassination of him, or threatened to blow up the white house, you got arrested and charged? and it was a bad thing instead of people cheering and paying money to see it?

What if these people who are so unhappy living here in the US , go to any other country and disrespect it, wonder what would happen to them,? In some countries, I wonder if they would even live?

What if high paid athletes that use their platform to protest and disrespect our country by sitting down during the national anthem , what if they got  warned and then if they continued to be disrespected, they got  fired? If they were at a corporate company and just sat down when the CEO was talking to them because they did not like what he was saying, wonder what would happen.?  And what are they complaining and protesting for in this public manner after all, they are living the American dream, making tons of  money for doing what they love to do, because they were gifted with the ability to play sports. Looks like they might be a little humble and grateful for their life.?

What if movie stars and tv stars, would get paid according to who liked their way of thinking or their beliefs? Just be quiet already and act. we are tired of hearing your voice being so disrespectful and hateful of all who do not believe as you do. We are tired of having the next generation being exposed to the filth that comes out of your mouths if you encounter a person who doesnt think as you do.

What if history was just that and was taught as history. Parts of it were horrible. War is horrible, slavery was horrible, and thank goodness we have grown and changed but it is how our nation started. We cannot take it back. It cannot be changed but we can Learn from it, never go back there. You cannot tear everything down that reminds you of our history. All of us came from some kind of past years ago, good or bad, but we are not who we came from. We have a choice to be better and an opportunity to change the world for the better.

What is we strive for just plain progress… one day at a time and not for perfection. We will never be perfect. The world will never be perfect, but we have the ability to choose to be better . The president is not perfect nor have any before him been perfect. Good is happening in the background. Change is happening, slowly, but not being reported. Report it all… Good and bad and let people choose what they want to support.

I read a quote someone posted yesterday, “You have your way, I have my way, as for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist”  Friedrich Nietzsche     REALLY?!!!  maybe that is what is wrong with the world.  I believe there is one way. I believe that there is only one way. I believe the word of the Bible   John 14:6 says, “Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  So Mr. Friedrich, I beg to differ from you.

Quotes can be said by anyone. Quotes can be passed around as truth. Words can be typed in on social media to be spread by thousands in just a blink of an eye. Untruths, hate sentiments, vile language….. anyone can post and share…

What if we woke up and thought about what we could do to make someones day better instead of waking up with an agenda to be ugly and rude to anyone who doesnt believe as you do, and encourage others to do the same.

I saw where two collage groups with different beliefs had come together to protest the removing of the flags in memory of 911 on their campus where they had been for so many years. Why? because it might offend some poor soul who didnt agree with them.  They came together to do something for good with no violence, no riots… they were able to keep the memorial. A lesson for adults who have been elected to do a job, to at least strive for progress together. It takes courage to stand up and speak and sometimes it takes courage to just sit down and listen…..

What if elected officials actually did what they were elected for? and were held accountable if they didnt. What if they couldnt go on vacation until they did. What if they had to have the same health insurance as the rest of us do,? What is they had a set number of years in office? what if they had to retire at a certain age and leave office?

What if we realized we do not live in a perfect world and we should all work together to keep this great country of ours great….. what if we put our differences aside and worked for progress?

I can`t change others but I can choose how I react to the world…

Lord, help me to make a difference today, in someones life… help me not to judge others who think different from me, and help me to shine for you in my actions and to make a bit of progress in working towards my purpose in life.

Happy Wednesday,

Love, Jane

 

 

It takes an army

I have often heard those words.   Well, I am here to say how true that is. I am most thankful for my army of friends who were there for me recently…

The wedding was over 6 weeks ago. It is a wonderful memory NOW…. but during the planning and getting ready stages, there were several times in my mind that things could have gotten a little stressful….. if I had tried to resolve small problems on my own. Thankfully, that is when my army of friends showed up at just the right time… So, so many people to thank , who were there for us. So many friends helped throw parties and offered their time to help us, and loaned us things to use.  But here are a few highlighted members of my army…. and they probably don`t even really know what an important part they played.

I always think that no party of mine is complete without favors and this wedding was just a big party that we were planning for the reception..so, I was on the search for the just the right party favors.   I finally saw these really pretty cookies, all iced with the initials on top, and zeroed in on them.   I really wanted to duplicate them and have them in little clear bags, tied with a little saying on there.

In my mind, again, I thought it would not be that difficult after I found the right recipe.  I found the cutest little ridged cirlce cookie cutter at Michaels to use and I was ready to get started.

I made the shortbread cookie from a borrowed recipe from Pam,  and for three nights, I made a 5 dozen cookie recipe… Things were looking pretty good at this point and the cookies looked good so far.

 

My friend, Pam, had made these before and used fondant to place on top, so I wanted to do the same. thing as she told me about it…. I got the ingredients out,…. 16 oz bag of white mini marshmallows, 3 tablespoons of water, 2 pounds of powdered sugar and 1/2 cup crisco shortening.

My two grandsons were over that day, Heston, 9  and  Leif, 3, so they happily came in the kitchen to help with the fondant process.. LOL… they liked the part about the crisco. You dig your hand in the crisco can and coat your hands with it then knead the other ingredients together.. until it is all smooth..

 

We worked on that stuff for a long time and got it smoothed out pretty good , mixed and ready to roll out. But after adding the blue food coloring, it was a really dark blue and not the pretty aqua that I had wanted. and invisioned in my mind.!!. It was good practice but not what I could use…

I went back to get more food coloring and found a different blue. This time, I added just a drop and it went a long way and was the most beautiful Tiffany blue color. Yay!!

Pam insisted on coming to help me ice them.  She told me later, much later after the wedding that she just had felt so sorry for me doing all of them by myself, and wanted to help!!! I didnt know I was that pitiful!!  With both of us working, it went much easier and faster.   She got the fondant shapes wet after I cut them out and then stuck them to the top of the cookies. They looked so pretty at this point .

 

She had to leave for an appointment after we were finished with the fondant, but I assured her that I was ok and could easily put the W on the top of them….  We even tried a few W`s before she left to be sure I knew what I was doing…….Big mistake..

I tried to push the icing in little baggies and cut the tiny hole in it, but the letters looked horrible and were all different sizes.  After trying for a while , I just had to rub the messed up letters off the top of the cookies, so I would be able to correct the mistakes, I tried again.   I soon realized that I just couldn`t make it work to look good. Now, I could have easily, at this point, sat down and had a good cry, LOL… and I did consider that but then another friend came to mind. She had made cookies for Lara to use to ask her friends to be  one of her bridesmaids…

I took a chance that she was in town, and gave her a call. She was not only in town but eating at Chick Fil A, right around the corner from me and said she would be glad to stop by and get them and do the W for me.. Oh my, what a weight was lifted as I handed all those pans over to her to take home… I didn`t worry any more about them…

When I picked them up the next day, Kristen had put those W`s on there perfectly, each one looking exactly like the other.  Cookies done, but it took my army  of friends to make it work.

We tied those cookies up in a little plastic bag, and put them in this huge bucket with gold ribbon  and beads tied around the top of it. They were placed on the table by the door at the reception, for the guests to take one as they were leaving.. I almost forgot to take a picture of them, but got this one before they were all gone…

The week before the wedding, I had the programs all layed out and ready to print, with the sketched image of the church on the front of it. My daughter in law, Rebecca, had drawn  it for a wedding gift for Lara and Steven and had sent me the digital image to use. I got the paper ready, I thought I could print 50 at a time. I did the first 50, the fronts and as I was turning them over to put them back in to do the back, I noticed a smudge on the front of one. I got my glasses  on and looked closely only to find out the smudge was on all of them!!!!! Something was going on with my printer that was causing it to do this on each one. OH MY GOODNESS… less than a wekk to go, and I was trying to cross this off of my list to do that day.  I had planned to go see my friend, Patsy, who owns Village Press in Mountain Brook, after I had them printed that day. She had told me to bring them down and she would help me score and fold them . I had to call to tell her I couldn`t come that day, that I had to figure out what was going on with my printer.  She immediately told me to send her the digital file for them to print for me.    “No, I didn`t mean to have you do that, I will try to  figure it out and come Monday to fold them. with you.”   I will never forget what she said to me, “Don`t take away the joy it would give me to do this for you”.  With maybe a tear or two forming in my eyes, I told her that I would send it on to her. Wow…. it was mid afternoon when we talked. After dinner, she shows up at my door, with the programs in hand, all printed and folded and ready to take to the church the next week in a beautiful white wicker basket.

This is the beautiful drawing that Rebecca did and let me use for the program.

Thanks to my army of friends, Pam and Kristen who saved the cookie project…Patsy graciously solved the printing problem before it had time to get huge and cause stress in the Lazenby household.. caught just in time… She was a huge, huge part of my army who stepped up on my behalf, as was Rebecca, as she shared her drawing before she gave it to them, for us to use on the program.

I cannot close without including my sweet Tom. He usually is in the background, just encouraging and watching as we get things done, but willing to do whatever we ask.  The last two things that popped up that  week before the wedding….. were pretty large….

 

 

to be continued in part 2…

Thank you for reliving these special times with me..  it was truly magical to look back and see how it all came together…

Have a great week,

Love,

Jane

Hidden treasures

I think as I am getting older, my mind works a little different. With the mind reorganizing and adjusting to being slightly over middle age, it resonates  my soul. THINGS mean more to me.. Not STUFF, but THINGS… Stuff is just temporary items that have been collected over the years.. THINGS are words, stories, memories that you hear and collect and hold close to your heart.

Maybe time is the difference. When I was younger, my time was spent doing for the children. There wasn`t a whole lot of extra time.   It was a great season of growing and watching and learning life. with these little ones that He had given to us.   Now, with that busy season of them growing up done, with them all grown up and out on their own, this new season lends time for me to be intentional with friends. Time to do life with others, and to see how God works through these relationships. “Be still and listen”, that is what He tells us to do.  Be still and listen to Him, and be still and listen to those He places in our lives.. It is a great gift to give someone. The gift to listen. So many treasures are waiting, hidden in deep conversations if we take the time to listen.

I have watched and listened and learned from a dear friend recently, as she and her brothers have tried to close out the family home and all that it had meant to them over these many years.  It was out of town, so it was hard for them to coordinate schedules to get there often. But now, was the time. The pressure was on for them to get it done.

The home place and property was way overgrown with trees and grass and weeds, they even spotted some “critters” who had moved in… UGH… most of the visits resulted in a few tics who had found their way onto their bodies. The stories she told, were of hard days, going through all the rust and dirt,  the heat was unbearable, and the critters were a bit unsettling to know they were there, lurking under the rubble, but they persevered . They had to go through it all to be sure there was nothing of significant value left.. Old letters were found, car signs from her Daddys car business and some more treasures. One of the last pieces to the big puzzle is a great old, rusted safe. They have to get in there to be sure nothing is left. It is so cool to look at but heavy, and none of them need a big safe, so it will be left, opened and cleaned out, for the new owners.

As they remember  and talk about the  youthful days they spent there, one by one, things were found  that went with those memories. Her Daddy could build anything.   He had built them a zip line from the trees, that was still there. They had played in the creek in the afternoons and climbed on the big boulder rocks still there. The story that I loved the most was about the little chapel he had built in the woods for them to play in. It was still there, sort of…

The frame had slowly tilted from all the years left in the woods, and it wasn`t safe to go in, but as they opened the door to take a peak, the little cross he had built to go in it, was still there, hanging inside the door.

What a hidden treasure!!!  She lovingly removed the cross and took it to the car to save.  I just love this picture in my mind, of all the hours three young children would run through the woods, in and out of this sacred little chapel, playing on those carefree days.

The little chapel will soon be gone to new owners and probably taken down, but the cross which held all the memories would soon be in its new home with her to enjoy .

The pickers from Birmingham must have had the most glorious day as they were invited to meet down there and go through the rusted treasures to find things to repurpose and share with others. This stuff which was once collected with love from their Daddy, was now being shared. It had no place, no room in their lives but the THINGS that the “stuff” represented, the memories that were formed on this property, would always be alive in their hearts.

As we talked about the days they spent there, we both remembered those days back then when ” it ” happened. We both had been at one time or another, disrespectful or talked out of line and we did not forgot the consequences that would come. Oh the memories of picking out our own little switch from the yard, and running our hands down to remove the leaves that were budding and then handing them over to our Daddies. I don`t necessarily remember the switching, just the time that led up to it. From when I knew I had been caught doing something that I should have known better, to the time our eyes met and he told me to go outside to the bush and get that branch.   Oh, the anticipation for it to be over and not to ever do that again… I am sure in his mind, that was the punishment, the dread, the knowing, the fear of it all, instead of the light switching that came… Today, children would sue if that happened, but the character built by discipline back then, is what is lacking in the world today. Switchings may be old time, but discipline is needed so badly with our culture. My Daddy would not ever tolerate any disrespect toward my mother. No questions asked. We knew better…We would NEVER have thought we were entitled to anything, but rather it was something we had to work toward and earn.  So, yes, times have changed and not all for the better.. These sweet treasures of memories, molded us. They made us who we are. It is so fun to go back and see the things that made your friend, who she is today. Character building treasures..

Seasons come and go. Some are fun to remember, others we might not want to so much, but sharing these treasures of the past with friends and sharing the gift of listening is priceless. We were not created to do life alone… Thankful for those He places in my life to love on and to be with. Cherish those things that have meaning and let the STUFF go…

Have a wonderful Thursday!!

Love, Jane

Buttons and the faith of a child

It all started as I was talking to a sweet young friend to see if she would like some craft rhinestones to use for art projects with her little girls.  I added in the conversation,  that I had some doilies too if she was interested. She was excited to get both items but what she doesn`t know is that I found some old buttons  that I am adding into her stash.!  LOL…..

 

I used to collect buttons but now, I have no use for them, cause my sewing days are long gone… I used to collect “craft” treasures to use, and inherited so many others from projects that Mother and I did together.  I still love these things. I could still keep them in their little boxes, neatly tucked in my full closets of things I may need one day. BUT, In my de-cluttering mode, that I am trying to do a little at a time, it makes me happy and gives me JOY to find homes for things that were once treasures to me…

 

Her  bag is all ready to deliver soon but as I am still busy and moved on to other areas to re-evaluate if I like or not, (really? I ask myself, do I really need to move furniture from one area to another TODAY? and do I really need to go through that heavy basket underneath the table TODAY?) and moving a few things from one spot to another,I get to that heavy basket.  I lean over to pick it up, (and by the way….”OUCH!!” I felt that!!!  not as young as I used to be and these old bones don`t move quite as good as they used to.., )  to take in the den, close to my sofa, so I can sit for a minute and look through it. I wanted to look through BEFORE I toss any old books out,  just in case I might need something from there? I wanted to look through hurriedly so I could move on to something else on my de-cluttering  list and scratch this off…..I am about half way finished….  with one stack to indeed get rid of, one stack of torn out pages to save in a folder somewhere, just in case, and one stack to save as is, when I come upon this book..

Seasons of the Heart

 

I remember it. The cover is very familiar to me. Yes, it was hers. Yes, I kept it knowing it was special, but haven`t looked at it in a while.. So, I flip through the pages and come to a short story called, “Baskets of Buttons”,  and of course, I sit down to read it..

The author  starts off by saying under the title, “sometimes it is their childlike faith from daughters that the greatest lessons are learned.”  and then she adds on the front page of the book, ” I remember in the solitude of a moment shared, my mother became my friend.”     Oh man, a tear jerker I am sure, is coming up, but I read it anyway….. just because….

The author`s  daughter, Jennifer,  was 9 years old. She had been shopping  with her mother one day at the dime store,( remember them?, lol..) and had found her dream purse. The tag read, $8.50.  With money short, her mother encouraged her daughter  to save up and come back if she really wanted it. She was hoping it would instill perseverance and diligence in her daughter`s youthful  spirit.

Several weeks went by and Jennifer came to her mom and said that she had saved the money and could they please go get the purse at the store?  Her mom cautioned her that it might be gone since it had been several weeks. With her daughter`s lips quivering, she answered back, “but I know it is still there. I saved the money for it, and I prayed. Please Mom, lets go and get it.”

As they got to the store, the purses from the display were indeed gone. They both looked diligently through the store and spotted it on the clearance table. It had been marked down to $6 but had several buttons that held the side together, missing.  Jennifer was delighted but  her mom was silently thinking it would be impossible to find little pearl buttons exactly  like the ones on there  to hold the purse together.  Jennifer just smiled and said “that is ok, Mother, I will   pray for them”. How could this little girl have such faith, so childlike,  simple and   unconditional and yet so far from hers?  They went home with a slightly soiled and  broken,  bargain purse.

That night, she  very gently washed it  and placed it with her other treasured things by her bed.  She woke up the next morning and cried out with excitement as she ran to tell her mother, the buttons were there!! They were on top of her purse.

God had known how important they were to her. Hidden in lining, no one had noticed when they purchased the little purse that they were there.

Through Jennifer`s eyes and faith, her mother had been reminded about something big. Nothing is too small for God to notice and touch with a blessing to encourage our hearts . If God could answer her prayer about missing buttons, He could hear her mother`s prayers for their lives.

The buttons on the purse held it all together just like His love holds us together, if we just run to Him with our prayers and believe.

 

When I read that little story, it  almost brought tears to my eyes. Something so simple as buttons can be reminders of His never ending love for us. Some people would say “Coincidence”    I don`t even go there, but I just stop and  immediately thank Him for caring enough and loving me enough  to send that little reminder  today… If He cares so much for the little things, how much more He cares for us when we reach out to Him…

 

Did I finish all my de-cluttering list today? absolutely NOT. I will never be completely finished, I am convinced of that… but I did make a small dent and that is all I can expect. After all I do not want my expectations to become my biggest disappointments!!  That could happen easily if I put too much pressure on myself!!! So I just do a little along and continue to get that Joy, when the LITTLE is accomplished… which actually could be the BIG….

Have a great week,

Love, Jane

 

Buttons and the faith of a child

Life is not always a perfect Pinterest picture…

From the title, one might think this is going to be a deep LIFE lesson entry, but not so much this time. It is just a transparent look at everyday life. You just have to live with the punches and go on. If we compared our lives with the seemingly “on the outside”,  “perfect” pictures posted on social media  (pinterest), none of us would measure up. Life is real..  Life is a learning adventure. We make mistakes, we are not perfect. But through it all, if we choose joy and laughter, our mistakes make grand adventures and great memories!!

This was the results last year as I made my grandmother`s famous Peach Meringue Pie. She would make at least one every summer. We usually waited to have it in July when her favorite peaches were ready to be picked. Papa would go to the peach park , pick them himself, and bring baskets home to share with everyone. It was the clear seed, as she called them, that she waited for. They were late bloomers but the peach would fall off the seed when you pealed and cut into them. It was a treat we looked forward to each summer. Lots of the time, she would make the crust, and roll it out, and I would mix the peaches and mother would do the meringue. NO ONE could do better meringue than Mother did. It would always stand so tall and pretty. Occasionally it would have a few “tears” as she called the drops on top, but it always would taste yummy. With any left over crusts, she would roll it out, pat with butter and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top then roll up and cut into little slices. These were treasured little bites that were anticipated about as much as the pie itself!!

Well, after my grandmother was gone, mother would continue the tradition and her pies were equally as good as the ones our Loisie would make. Now, years later, with Mother gone, if I want to have one, the responsibility falls into my lap. , Just know, that each time, it is really kind of a gamble how the meringue will turn out. That is certainly NOT my strong point of cooking but last year , when I made the pie, the meringue was exceptionally high and pretty, and I gave myself a little silent pat on the back.. LOL….

My daughter in law and grandsons were visiting from Dallas and with her birthday coming up next week, I decided that when I had them for the send off dinner a few nights ago, and for her birthday, I would make the famous peach meringue pie for a special treat.   The peaches were a bit of a disappointment this year. I had gotten some that were so overly  ripe that they didn`t even make it til time to make the pie. I found some at the grocery store that were way too hard and not ripe enough. I stopped at my local farmers market up the road and got me a basket of pretty good ones. So, I was ready. I had all the ingredients, even remembered to get the whipped butter to have on hand. I separated the eggs… and added the sugar to the egg whites and a dash of cream of tarter as they both used to do. I turned the mixer on, and turned the bowl around to get it all in the beaters, and stood there and mixed and stood there and mixed some more and it just refused to fluff up!!!! Upset with myself and with the thought that maybe I had gotten a bit of egg yolks in there. I didn`t have my glasses on so that was quite possible.  Or maybe there was  a drop of water in  the bowl from where I did not dry it good enough and perhaps that caused it to flop…. whatever,  I dumped it out and washed the bowl and dried it really good and started over. As I was getting everything ready to put in the bowl, I realized that I had put a dash of corn starch in the last time  instead of the cream of tarter!!!! no wonder it was a flop!! still a bit exasperated at myself for the oversight but happy that I had figured out the problem, I carefully put that dash or two of cream of tartar in the bowl with the sugar and egg whites. The mixer was on again… it started to beat and get fluffy… I stopped when I thought it was enough, another mistake cause perhaps it should have stayed in longer and mixed more, but whatever again, so I took it , and spread it out on the baked pie to go back in the oven to brown… It looked ok at that point, even when I pulled it out of the oven all nice and browned, I was feeling pretty good..

It has to sit and cool so I tucked it away on the counter as I was finishing getting dinner ready. I glanced over at the pie and saw the meringue almost shrinking before my eyes!!!   Oh well, maybe it would still taste good, I was hoping…..

It was enjoyed even with the flop of the meringue and I laughed about it with Rebecca, remembering the days back when Loisie and Gaga used to make it. Sorry she didn`t get to taste theirs, but she got a glimpse of what it was all about.

Not perfect as the picture, but that is just life, right? I tried… LOL…..

So, Happy Birthday, Rebecca!!! Happy and blessed to have you in our family, to be the mother of my grandsons and a wonderful wife to my first born, and my special second daughter…  Love you and appreciate you enduring the flopped pie, but acting as if it was the best thing ever!!!

Here is the recipe that has been passed down if anyone  wants to try it for yourself. If you do, and if you can remember, send me a picture of your version!!

Happy Saturday and the happy “almost” start of a brand new week.

I am thankful to be perfectly imperfect!!!  I give myself permission to be me, and laugh at the imperfections and turn them into grace moments….

Love, Jane

Reflections of His love

 

Today I was on an ordinary quick run to Walmart. It was a beautiful sunny day, when I got out of the car and headed inside. I finished my list, and was looking for the quickest check out line to get into. Hurriedly I found one with just a few people in front of me, and turned into the  aisle.  All of a sudden, A huge clap of thunder sounded, and a short moment later, there it was  again. The elderly woman behind me in line said, rather quietly, “Oh, is that thunder?” I turned around to see her in her motorized wheelchair and commented how it had come from no where. It had been sunny when we both walked in. Neither of us had umbrellas, we said to each other, smiling at the thought of leaving them in the car when we needed them. I assured her that I would help her get to her car if it was pouring when we left.  We probably only had about 5 or 10 minutes to exchange words but I found out a lot about her in that short time. She was 89 years old, had downsized to a garden home, where she had lived alone for 8 years since her husband had died. She was all alone and lonely.  She said that her daughter wanted her to move again, probably into an assisted living place, and she just didn`t want to do it. He daughter lives close, and she sees her often but her son is out of town and she   doesn`t see him as often… She has a little dog, who she loves so much and was buying food for him today????????.  She is a bit hard of hearing, which we all are to some degree, and she says that  she doesn`t see too well. She says that her  daughter would rather her stay in but she  still likes to get out by herself sometimes. She said she visits with her daughter, to her church.  i told her about my bible study and how we would love to have her   but  she didn’t think she would be able to come visit with me  cause it was too far.

She paid for her groceries with a check, but could not reach the screen to sign, so I did it for her. “is that legal?”, she asked… we assured her that it was ok. As I helped put her groceries on the belt, then back in her basket, she whispered to me that she wished I could come home with her…She was teasing, but smiling at the same time,  She spelled her name out for me to sign  N E L L   she said it made her mad when oeople would misspell it.   she said we should get a plastic bag for  our head in case it was raining when we left.  lol!!  I laughed and mentioned how my grandmother used to do that!!  i thought she was teasing but as we were leaving together and heading for the door , she reached out to grab her a plastic bag and even offered me one????  As  we got to the door, we could see  the rain had stopped but the bag stayed on her head. I Put her bags in her trunk since we were parked close to each other and as if she were my own mother, I reminded her to leave the heavy things in there until someone came to help her. !!    WE said our good byes and I watched her drive off  in her little maroon sedan.

 

She was such a sweet interuption to my afternoon   I couldn’t help but think of her life before this season. Happily married with two children to raise   Now, grown and out on their own, her husband gone and Nell is living alone   She chose to smile     Her sweet smile and eager conversation was such a reflection of His love to me …  Thankful HE shared her with me.  Today.

 

I may never see Nell again but I hope I do .  I would love to have another talk with her

Reflections of His love

You have made my day joyful????

i took this picture as I drove up the long windy road to Bob and Bonnie Alvord’s ranch a few days ago  I marvelled at the reflection in the water of those beautiful trees   What an awesome reflection of His love to experience.   I am thankful I was able to see His artwork that day …

have a great week,

love.

jane

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