“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….

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

It`s about the Cross

“It`s About The Cross”

As I listened one of my favorite  songs, “It`s about the Cross” by the Ball Brothers the other day, it  reminded me what life it all about. The Chorus of the song goes this way,   “It’s about the cross, It’s about my sin, It’s about how Jesus came to be born once, So that we could be born again”    Born again…. This week, I had the privilege of celebrating a life that had been “Born again”

Friday  was a celebration service for a very special man, Harry Arthur Edge.  .

The story goes, he was SENT to Caroline, 56 years ago. She was friends of his sister, and he spotted her from afar and asked about her.  On their first date to the Alabama Theater, it was crowded and they realized that the 7:00 was full and they would have to wait for the 9:00 one. Arthur told Caroline that they better go call her parents to let them know why they would be late. She says that sealed the deal, as her parents could see how respectful and proper  . They said the main thing they had in common was Jesus Christ. They knew from early on that it took three to make a marriage, as Caroline says, :”YOU AND ME AND THE LORD and mostly the Lord because we are not always right, are we?”

Pastor Carter shared in the service many things about his life. But , as he was looking through Arthur`s  Bible,   he noticed that he had underlined the whole passages in Proverbs 31: 10-31.  What a tribute to his sweet wife of 56 years.  It was as if he was saying,” this is what I have found  in my Caroline,   A Proverbs 31 woman  “. They had a sweet, sweet love story….

He was a “Go the second mile and then some” kind of man. The pastor talked about how  he joined the church 54 years ago,” and then some”  …. He always went that second mile. His, “and then some”, at church,  Sunday School teacher, then chairman of the deacons, then chairman of the building committee.  His fingerprints could be seen all over his church .

He was a  Lieutenant in the U.S. Army following college graduation.  “And then some”….. he served for more than 10 years in the U.S. Army Reserve.

He was a  great father to 3 grown children, Art, Jennifer and Laura, ….. “and then some” . . . .   a grandfather to 4.   He was teased for going through a “metamorphosis”  when those grandchildren  came along because  they changed him, one by one.  ,He  let some of the regimented rules from raising his children , slide just a bit with the grandchildren.!!  He was POP to them.  He loved all the family times at the lake and had this lake memory I did for them, years ago,  when the grandchildren were young, up at his  lake house to see… He was a great POP…

He was a Friend to many.

He was celebrated for being a Smart man, “not just smart but a Wise man,”.    He was a “Funny”  man,  and he loved to laugh . He was considered a “Great”  man by all who knew him.

He lived out his favorite verse, Micah 6:8 “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God”

I couldn`t help but think of Arthur this morning as we sang,   “This I Believe” by Hillsong, at church.

“I believe in God our Father

I believe in Christ the Son

I believe in the Holy Spirit

Our God is three in one

I believe in the resurrection

When we will rise again

For I believe in the name of Jesus”

 

Yes,  as Easter is coming next week and we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, we can rejoice that Arthur is celebrating with the Lord today, because He believed in the name of Jesus.

He was born February 17, 1936 in Adel, Georgia. He passed away Tuesday, April 4, 2017.  Those dates will not be remembered forever but the dash in between the dates,  will count for eternity. The life of Harry Arthur Edge Jr. will be remembered for generations.   He lived life well and He loved well…

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-8

“IT`S ABOUT THE CROSS”

 

love, Jane

 

 

“Bits `n Pieces”

I recently gave a devotion for my Bible Study leadership and wanted to share it. It is called “BITS `N PIECES”

 

As I have gotten older, my mind thinks a bit differently about life. Because I have lived way over half of it…  I touched on it a bit when I was talking last year about seasons, and how seasons change as we get older and children grow up and move out.     But truly now, I think a lot about my purpose and the legacy that I will leave my children and grandchildren, giving something that will outlive me. And glorify God. It makes you not look so much  toward the” ONE DAYS”  but to concentrate on the “TODAYS…”

We have had a series at church called, “Leaving a legacy to make a difference” . Psalm 65:11 says,” You crown the year with a bountiful harvest, even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.”

Reminds me that even in the dark times, and hard journeys ,we have the opportunity to work on our legacy… It is not only about the trial and hard times, but how we handle it that makes a difference People will remember how we ran our race….

We  can  make every day a masterpiece, approach it as an empty canvas to give God, as we  have a vision of the finish line… and finishing strong…

This year as we have been studying Timothy, I remember in

2 Timothy 1:5 talks about how Eunice and Lois were believers and Timothy came to faith in Christ while he was young , through their witness and teaching… What a sweet story of the love between Timothy and his mother and grandmother. We CAN make a difference to our children and grandchildren by how we live…….Loved to read about the legacy they both left…

 

A few weeks ago, I was looking for something I couldn`t find, as I often do, and opened a box with papers in it…. I found a folder that I had stuck in there almost 6 years ago.  I can remember the date because in two weeks, it will have been 6 years since Mother lost her short battle with cancer and went home to be with God.. and these papers and boxes came to my house soon afterwards as we were cleaning out her house.  So many times I thought about her life and her things… that were left.  I am always sad to see a sign for an estate sale… it means someone has died and strangers are coming over to dig through their life`s treasures. They were special to somebody and now, they are just stuff to get  rid of..   and then that brings me back to my house and my :STUFF: and if it will mean anything to anyone one day when I am gone?!!  And to take it a step farther…… it overwhelms me and whispers to me, to start now. Go through it and get rid of STUFF you don`t need anymore so no one else will have to do it!!  That is just how my mind works, all over the place!!

 

But as I flipped through the  pages in the box , I came across an old folder that had papers in her hand writing. It was, an opening  that she had written for her garden club. After I read it, In a weak moment,  I texted DeeDee to see if she needed me for a devotion… and told her I would be glad to help out…. You see, I felt like I had found a bit of a treasure… for me…… I love when God does that……. In reading her words, it just reminded me of the legacy she left for us….

As this was  for her garden club installation of officers, I read between the lines  to relate it to how the body of Christ works…  I would like to share it with you this morning

It is from 1978… and she calls it, “Bits N pieces”

I am glad to be here with you tonight. I`ll have to say this is my first installation service and when Joyce asked me if I would please take her place as she would have to be out of town…. Well………., ( I smiled when I read that, because I thought the same thing as it got closer to time for my turn to do the devotion, a little bit out of both of our comfort zones!!)

She said,   In trying to find a theme for tonight, it just seemed natural to use one of my most recent projects to base our service on.

My patchwork  tablecloth. So tonight as we look ahead to a new year together, lets  think for just a minute about bits and pieces, and how they all fit together to make a whole.

As I read that part,  Ephesians 4:16 came to my mind… “From whom the whole body joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love”

And Romans 12:4-5 For as in one body, we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”

Then  she says, My love of fabric goes back a long way, from the time my first daughter was born and I made her first little dress. Then another little girl,   me….. was born and more little dresses.  (She always made blue dresses for my sister and pink for me!  ) all through grammer school, high school and college and weddings. More dresses.  But now my life had taken a different path, 4 ½ years ago, my husband died and I was left with an 8 year old son, and the realization that I would have to try and make a new life for myself with him.

Once again, my love of fabric and lace was to become a very important part of my life.

As my sewing became therapy for me, a little part time business began to take shape.

Those of you who know me, know I make decorative pillows and accessories and wedding invitations. I am always on the lookout for unusual pieces of fabric or lace or tiny flowers that I can press and use in my pictures or invitations.   Side note… it was always a joke she said to me… if anything ever happens to me, my craft room is yours. I don`t want anyone else going through it.. She knew that I wouldn`t throw it all away, but go through it all and either find new homes, or take it home with me…!! And I did, when the time came, to go through every piece of lace and fabric and craft items.. in her sewing room..

She continued……My little pin cushions start off with bit and pieces of lace, velvet and ribbon, then put them all together to make my little “mother`s” pin cushions., as she called them.

Some folks accuse me of driving with one eye on the side of the road, as I seek my little blossoms to press.  Once again,  bits and pieces of god`s beautiful world are put together to make my little pictures

 

My tablecloth started out with many scraps, bits and pieces… some from pillows I have sewn and many

My tablecloth started out with many scraps, bits and pieces… some from pillows I have sewn and many from friends as we exchange scraps to go in our cloths. As the blocks are finished, they are all joined together to make a whole.

Just as my little projects take many pieces to make a whole, so your Garden club takes the work of many to make a whole. So, with your help, as I pieced my cloth together, lets piece a quilt block together.

She listed all of the officers and their roles… handed out paper pieces with numbers …  But please look, she said,  we do not have our complete quilt block yet.

Much of the fascination and satisfaction of quilt piecing is derived from seeing how each piece falls into place and also how no one piece stands alone. , but is dependent upon each other for completion She had them all lay down their block and piece them together….. Now if everyone will place your blocks with the rest…

Even so the success of your club is achieved through each officer doing well, his assignments in cooperation with each other officer. But to complete the quilt, we will add these others… they represent you, the essential elements necessary to complete a well    coordinated club.

And last I am going to add a few gold threads, they represent the golden hands of friendship, that exists among us.. These friendships are the ties that hold our club together. They highlight our time together as they highlight our quilt.

 

This all just parallels with our role as members of the body of Christ.   He is the vine, we are the branches… apart from Him, we can do nothing.    We all have different  roles ,  But He is the golden thread that brings us all together.   We are the bits n pieces, that fit together to make the body of Christ work.   And give him the glory

This is  just a small part of mothers legacy…. That lives on through her words and thoughts on paper.     but more than this, her legacy was her life, the way she intentionally lived it, the love she shared, the smile she always had for others,  her love for God, her example ,  how she treated others,   That is her legacy. She made a difference…

What will  our legacy be? What will we be remembered for?   What will God say about how we lived our life when He greets us one day?  Are we living the best we can, for Him? Did we bring Him glory when we had opportunities?

Matthew 16:27, For  the son of Man is going to come in his fathers glory with his angels and then he will reward each person, according to what he has done.”

 

Our goal isn`t to live on earth forever, but leave something that does…

“Christmas Egg Ornament” memories

Today, all of a sudden, I had an overwhelming moment where I missed my Mother. .  These times just come out of no where.

A few days ago, I found an old book where she had spoken into it and it recorded her voice telling the story.  My sister and I commented, as we listened,  that we don`t ever want to forget her voice,  but it is getting harder to remember as the years go by ….  It has been almost 6 years, and yet when I stumble upon a memory, it is as if she is still there at her house, waiting for me to call her in the morning to see how they are.

My friend told me yesterday how much she is missing her mom and it has been two years for her…Just like a good friend, I sympathized with her, saying she would always have that hole in her heart, but that we know how wonderful it is for them now in the presence of Jesus, and that for sure makes us happy.

So true, those words, and I do know and believe that if they could choose to come back, they  would not want to, but would want to continue to  just to bask in His presence and wait for the rest of us to join them. I know that… but oh my heart….. those memories that keep her alive in my heart, are the very memories that I long to relive.

I am not a little girl, but a grown woman, with grown children of my own and even grandchildren, and yet I still miss her…. Reminds me of the saying from Winnie the Pooh that I love, “How lucky I am to have had something that makes saying goodbye so hard”  Truly, so hard..

So, what started this for me today was my art room. Oh, my beloved art room. I clean it up one week then work on projects from time to time, pulling things out and rearranging other things, and stacking things into new piles and on and on… Today, my sweet husband came up there with me to help me put up this new easel that I had gotten from the kids for my birthday. It had been sitting up there, just waiting for me to figure out how to put it together and wondering where I would put it to work on it. So, I mentioned to him that I needed help, and he went on up there to see how to do it. Two hours later, it is finished, and up in the corner waiting for plastic drop cloths to be placed under it so paint will go on there instead of the rug…. And waiting for its first practice time with me.  LOL!!

 

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But as he was working…  I hated for him to be there by himself in my room, so I went and began to clean up a bit, well more than a bit, I pulled things out and tried to throw away, and reorganize. In doing that, I came across a big box that I had pushed back in a shelf,  I am sure, years ago, and had not noticed or pulled it out in years.  As I pulled it out and opened it, Oh my heart……  I opened the tiny boxes carefully and my mind went back years ago,  when Mother had made these very fragile egg ornaments.

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She had three or four started but not glittered yet, and little boxes of supplies that she used, all stacked away neatly in this big box.

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I wanted so bad, not to cry. I tried not to….  I wanted to just pack it up , put it back on the shelf and finish my task in there. By now, the easel was done and Tom had left, so, I gave myself a moment, to relive those days, so close to Christmas, as she would show me what she had been working on for months, to give away for presents.  She worked all year, to have special things, handmade things, to share with friends and family.   I took a picture and sent it to my daughter in law, who also shares the love of egg ornaments, and all the special handmade things mother made.   She made some herself, years ago after she and Tommy  married and before children… that I treasure.  So, I shared the picture with Rebecca, who was very excited to see my find.

I did shed a few tears, but not so much sadness but tears of gratitude ….for  those times with her and memories that would be with me always. Yes, as I told my friend, we will always miss them. Does it get easier? I haven`t figured that out yet, but these times don`t come as frequent.   She lives in my heart, He fills that hole with His presence and those gifts He gives me, out of nowhere of my sweet mother.

As I am finishing up ,I text Rebecca to say I am saving it for when they come visit and spend the night so we can look at it…. I get a text from her,  excited, saying she hopes we have time to pull it out to play with so Heston can help. He loves projects!  Yay!! happy heart now. as I anticipate new memories and the egg projects to be passed down to a new generation to cherish.

Also, thankful for my new easel!!! thanks, Tom, for assembling it for me and thanks, Tom, Rebecca and boys, for my birthday gift!!

In closing , let me reiterate how good God is…. In the midst of things as I am going through them, I come across a card with the caption, “You are in my heart forever” as I open and read, it is a poem on a Blue Mountain arts card. I read the first few pages, then the last page, so relevant to my post, says, “My dreams for your life may not always be the same ones you seek. But one thing remains the same,  your happiness will always be my greatest treasure. I know now that the true miracle of that first touch lies in one simple truth….. even though your hand may slip away from mine, we will hold each other in our hearts FOREVER”…. and she underlined “forever”……   So with that, I take great comfort… that He was reminding me of my heart and what it holds…..

Happy Saturday and new week!!

Love, Jane

Memories…….Family time…. and Heston

I have tried to be a big girl this week. I know life happens, new jobs come, people move away and life goes on. I know God has the bigger picture planned, that we can`t see.  I know there are so many people who are hurting with serious, serious trials going on…. I know all the things to say,  I choose to have my cup half full instead of half empty…. Yeah, yeah…. all of that is true, but this morning, I have given myself the time to myself, to be a little bit sad as I sort out this new season.  I tried not to be, I tried to keep busy these last few days so time would pass and it has, but today… in the middle of nowhere, as I am doing some research for this book of mine that I have all planned in my mind, I come across this blog from 4 years ago and it happened.!! LOL….

 

Now, I know, I have choices  to make here . Smile and feel blessed that we had such fun times together…. and believe me, I do.. I smiled at the memories as I looked at pictures and relived them and am so thankful that we were in the same town for so long. Yes, I did that.. CHECK… but the other choice that almost pulled me down, was to cry and feel sorry for  myself that they were gone. ALMOST…… I almost went there, and if I was really being truthful, I actually did go there for a second, but then pulled myself back up to the half full glass.!!

We did have some great times together, all of us, and now great memories to have … But this little one, the one who gave me my grandmother name and made me a grandmother. is very, very close to my heart today, as I remember those early days, thankful. I know there will be many more to come. This was all before Leif, and new memories will be with them both when we get together, I know that!!!

Time, doesn`t it go by so fast, especially as we get older.? My children growing up is just a memory…. and now grandchildren, you get a chance to go back there once again.

So, the purpose in my rambling, is just to be thankful for each day. Life happens, so just live today to its fullest…

Thankful for the memories!!!! I wish my Dallas family the best of luck on this new adventure of theirs. I know they will do awesome, as they start this new chapter.

Here`s to memories!!!!

 

 

summer, 2012

Today, we went on a little day trip with part of our family, a few couldn`t come, but Lara was home and got to go with us, Rebecca, Tommy and Heston too. We played a bit, had a picnic, played a bit more then headed back home. It was a quick little outing but we had a fun time together.

On my way home, I am thinking and singing this song to myself about blessings……

  1. There shall be showers of blessing:
    This is the promise of love;
    There shall be seasons refreshing,
    Sent from the Savior above.

    • Showers of blessing,
      Showers of blessing we need;
      Mercy-drops round us are falling,
      But for the showers we plead.
 I love that song, and as I am thinking about the words, it just screams out to me… I pray for God to shower His blessings down on those who are hurting, on those who are in the midst of trials, but today…. I am reminded about all the blessings He has showered down on me…
Nothing gives me any more pleasure than to do things with my family. I love that most of us are all in Birmingham and I love that Lara is so close that we can see her easily…. Today, I am thinking about my family, my children then comes to mind… a recent blessing….. just four years ago…. he came into our lives and his name is HESTON!!!  He is alive with personality! I have raised my own redhead and now, we have the privilege of watching one of ours raise his own redhead!
Yes, the Grandmother role is like no other… I say that God made me for this very thing because my heart melted the moment I became one!! You hear others talk about it but like everything else, until you are walking in the very same shoes as those who are already in this group, you don`t grasp the whole realm of the awesomeness of it!!
I have read a book that Mother had entitled,  “Funny, you don`t look like a Grandmother”! It has brought many smiles to my face as I read the things that she underlined along the way. The stories that this Grandmother tells, I can soooo relate to now that I am a grandmother!!
 Heston is the reason for this entry tonight though.. Yes, I love my children, and I will write about them another time but today, my heart smiles as I think about our day together…
We can talk about anything to each other. I love our before nap time rocks… and will do them as long as he will let me. We read stories, we say silly words, we laugh, we say I love you, then naptime comes. Today, was no exception to the silliness that we share. Something happens that just cracked him up, I will not go into the depth of the conversation on here but it was pretty funny to us. Someone had the camera at just the right time.
When he was born until he turned three, I kept him on Mondays. His first birthday party,….

 

  • His first snow at our house
Easter at our house after all the eggs had been found…

Our day trip to Little River Canyon and hiking through their property… we found a place to sit down and have a little “quiet” time….

His Superman birthday party for his 3rd birthday, where I made his cape and eye masks that he wouldn`t take off…

Then there was today…

it must have been really funny!!

Tonight, my heart is full of love for this sweet little redhead. I am so glad that God showered down blessings that include the love this Grammie has for this precious little one.

Thank you, Lord, for family, for hope, You give us…. for the joy, the love that you share with us so we can share with others… and thank you for Heston!

Have a great new week!

Love, Jane

Wedding Eve memories, from August, 2012

My friend, Jo Anne, and her daughter, Julie, have been busy for months planning for tomorrow. They have been planning each detail for the ceremony that will take place tomorrow morning, here in Birmingham. It is Julie`s wedding day eve, today, and tomorrow is the big day, Her wedding to Caleb.

They were both moving around on over- drive today!!!… Or should I say, Jo Anne was like the energizer bunny that would just go and go and go!! I can say that because I teased her to her face after I had been with her for a few minutes!! There were things to do, a planned time to do them, and we were on a schedule, a mission!!

I went along for moral support, and an extra vehicle to transport the flower arrangements to the reception location.

My car looked like a flower shop!  Jo Anne had picked up the flowers early this morning and spent all morning, putting them  together in lots of different containers. Many were in mason jars, wrapped in burlap. She had cut labels out in different shapes to place on the outside of them and personalized the labels with their names and the wedding date.

The relationship between this Mother of the bride and the bride, is only to be described as pure pleasure and love.. No harsh words, no disagreements, always respect for each other, always checking to be sure the other one was happy with how everything looked. It was a sweet time that they had together to see all the planning over these last months, come together and become a reality.

I must say, that as we took each flower arrangement inside from the car, you could tell how much time went into putting them all together. I complemented them both about how beautiful the flowers looked and Julie, immediately said, “It was all her!”

Jo Anne had thought of all the details and made so many special things to use. She  made a wooden cross with Julie and Caleb`s picture on it, tied with a burlap bow.

This cross was placed in the mixture of other crosses that they had collected to use in a display on the shelf in the dining room..

. Lots of burlap was used and I loved the look of it, mixed with a little lace!

The bride`s cake is going to be cupcakes!! My kind of cake!! They had some really pretty cup cake holders with crystals hanging on them, all set up , ready to be loaded up tomorrow with the cupcakes from Edgars!

 

JoAnne had painted two new pictures, just to use for the reception. They are both so pretty and will always be special for Julie to have, knowing they were created for her special day. One was an angel that she painted onto a music covered canvas… beautiful!

It was placed on the piano in a grouping of flowers and another picture.
Then, she painted a gorgeous picture of a stained glass window. She wanted to bring the blue into the
decoration, being the highlight color for tomorrow.
She made a moss covered wreath, that she used flat on the table with flowers in the middle.
A huge flower arrangement was made for the centerpiece of the food tables. It was in a wrought iron container, with moss then then the flowers. It was sitting on a pedestal in the middle of the three large round tables and looked great!
Another wreath was hung on the mantle
 The other mantle was the focal point of the main room. The vases were placed on the top, with a tall block angel. Jo Anne had made a banner that looked awesome!! I don`t think she would mind me saying that she got the letters at a garage sale for pennies of what they sold for originally! She mounted them on black burlap then on a larger plain burlap, tied up with black satin ribbon. It looked great, anchored by the tall candlesticks.
She handed me a piece of paper before we got started, which I wished I had taken a picture of (!!), where she  had carefully drawn pictures on it. Each item had what was to be placed on it, which flowers, and which pictures and where they were to go. Unreal how organized she was!! Julie and I both commented that she had missed her calling of being a wedding planner!
As we finished the last thing, locked the doors and turned the lights off, they were both  hurrying home to take a quick shower and dress for the rehearsal dinner tonight! Then at 6:30 in the moring, Jo Anne will be back there, getting ready for the day! Julie is a lucky bride to have such a sweet Mother to be walking this path of wedding bliss with her! I am equally sure that Jo Anne would say that she is the lucky one to have her sweet girls!
Happy Wedding Eve, Julie!!
Have a great wedding day tomorrow!
Love,
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