Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Photo Courtesy of Photo Bucket
I have spent the ENTIRE work day, today, thinking it was Wednesday. It is not - It is Tuesday.

I received the great news that this is Tuesday about 3:30 PM today - when I was pushing and fretting about meeting a Friday deadline for a project I am coordinating. Whew, it was a relief to learn it was Tuesday instead of Wednesday - I'm hopeful I won't have to fret all over again tomorrow when it really is Wednesday - that would be a drag!

I'm completely befuddled as to how I could lose an entire day and not realize it. It's not like I didn't look at a calendar all day - that point of reference somewhat goes out the window, though, when you are not actually looking at dates, but days. I kept looking at Wednesday - because I thought it was Wednesday - even though it was Tuesday.

I wish I had learned it was Tuesday earlier in the day - I probably would not have acted any differently; however, I would not have felt so silly!

So, here's to Wednesday - It's going to be a great day!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I played my best for Him

Photo courtesy of www.photobucket.com

This past Christmas I experienced the best gift ever. One so totally unexpected that it brought me to my knees.

Joe and I went to church Christmas morning and, as we walked through the front doors of the church, I noticed a harp standing near the back of the sanctuary. I had never seen a harp at our church before and I didn't know of anyone in the congregation who played a harp. So, I was curious.

I just could not imagine what that harp was doing at our church and to whom it might belong.

Since there were only a few of us at the service Christmas morning, I immediately noticed the middle-aged woman sitting all alone on the back row. She looked a bit timid and very uncomfortable. She was dressed in many layers and was wearing a somewhat worn coat with a heavy scarf wrapped tightly around her neck. She was also wearing a hat and gloves; and, it was obvious she was going through a rough time. However, I noticed her heavy boots were new and polished to a shine.

It's not unusual for our church to have visitors that may be a little less fortunate than others. Our church hosts what we call the "Necessity Pantry", twice a month, where we offer non-perishable necessities like toothbrushes, toothpaste, toilet tissue, diapers, soap, etc., to people that may need a little help with these things. In addition, we do our best to offer a friendly smile and an abundance of God's love. It is not unusual for someone we have helped to visit one of our services; so, I didn't think much more about the lady on the back row.

As I was greeting a friend, I asked about the harp. She told me that one of the folks we had helped at the necessity pantry was so grateful that she asked how she could repay us. Mother Pat (our Priest) told her that payment was not necessary. Still, this lady was determined and wanted to do something. She asked if she could play her harp for us as a way to say thanks. So, Mother Pat told her "yes, she could".

At the end of the service, I heard the most beautiful music coming from the back of the church. I turned around and was surprised to see the woman from the back row and now playing the harp - her face full of concentration and with an expression of pure joy. It was like she was lost in her music and it struck me that she was offering a gift - to me, to all those that were there that morning and, most importantly, to God. It was her gift of love - on Christmas morning, played from her heart and for God's ears. I felt overwhelmingly blessed to witness this outpouring of what she had to offer - and, so freely given.

The tears just ran down my face. I couldn't stop them. I sat there listening and my heart was full. I kept feeling this nudge that I wanted to help this gal in some way. I reached into my purse and found some cash that I have no idea where it came from. I NEVER have cash on me. And, if for some reason I do, it is never more than a dollar or two. So, I was standing there wrestling with myself about what I should do when Mo. Pat came and put her hand on my shoulder and asked me if I was going to make it. I told her I thought so and wasn't sure. I told her I wanted to give a "gift" to this woman without insulting or embarrassing her and I didn't know the best way. So, we found a blank envelope, I marked it "Merry Christmas" and thought I'd just quietly and anonymously slip it inside the woman's music folder. Then I decided I needed to hand it to her. So, I did, and whispered "Thank You" and "Merry Christmas" - the most extraordinary thing happened. This woman tried to hand the envelope back to me. She told me we had offered her so much: we had given her food and clothing and now "this" (she didn't even know what "this" was). I smiled at her and told her, "For you! Really, I don't know what else to do. I'm overwhelmed".  She just smiled at me,  embraced me completely around the shoulders and gave me a tight, long and heart-felt hug and wished me Merry Christmas, as well.

She was completely unaware that she gave the true meaning of Christmas to me that morning. After the service, I got in the car and the words to "Little Drummer Boy" kept rolling through my head...

Come they told me,
A new born King to see,
Our finest gifts we bring
To lay before the King;
So to honor Him,
When we come.

Little Baby,
I am a poor boy too,
I have no gift to bring,
That's fit to give the King,
Shall I play for you, ,
On my drum?

Mary nodded,
The ox and lamb kept time,
I played my drum for Him,
I played my best for Him,
Then He smiled at me,
Me and my drum. 

I'm intrigued by this woman. I wonder about her life story and how she has ended up where she is. I"m curious about the circumstances which have brought her to this difficult place in her life.

So, an Offering - of self, of talent, of joy, of thankfulness, of love. I'm thankful for this woman's gift to me- one that she is completely unaware she gave. And, I'm thankful for her sweet gift lovingly and gratefully offered to God, who is totally aware of what she laid before Him.

And, I pray that I always remember - even when it doesn't feel like I have much to offer - I always have a gift worthy to lay before my King if I offer my heart.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

MAD with Words - An Offering

Well, it's time to get back to the blog. I've really missed writing and so I have made a commitment to blog at least twice a week - Tuesdays and Saturdays. Since Joe has meetings, for a few hours and away from home on these days, I will have the house to myself (except for the dog) and I can ponder and write - sometimes even at the same time. It seems I have a lot of words fighting to find their way out of my head; so, we'll see where this takes me.

These past few months have flown by and have been full of challenges - mostly good and some a bit harder than others. It's been a time of change, a time of growth and a time of trust. It seems my life has been all about these things lately - personally and professionally. Maybe it's just my mid-life adjustment (change or fine-tuning, if you like) that has me stirred up.

I've also been challenged in the recent past with this thought. What am I doing to make a difference? A difference in my life and in the lives of others. It's a pretty heady question. You know, if I ask other people if I make a difference - they always respond with an "absolutely, you do!" For some reason, I'm needing a tangible response - How do I make a difference? Why do I make a difference? Why Is it important for me to know I make a difference? Have I made a difference to you? I want to make a difference!

Recently, I read the book by Max Lucado, Outliving Your Life. Talk about making a difference and motivating me to get moving. I sometimes think the challenges we face are just too big for one person to do something that can change the course of the outcome. Max Lucado talks about how one person can be the inspiration for great change and for great significance - in thought, action, response - even by doing something that seems very small. It struck me that I do have the ability to make a difference. I just have to be willing to take the risk, jump in and see what happens. Outliving My Life means more than leaving a legacy. It's leaving an imprint on this world and through my relationships so that lives are changed forever - through love.

Courtesy of Photo Bucket

Every morning I read Ann Voskamp's blog, www.aholyexperience.com (double-click on the Holy Experience link, under Inspiration, on my sidebar). Her honesty absolutely touches my heart. At this time, she is writing very eloquently about how our words make a difference to the people we encounter. And, how we should take our "words" seriously before they are spoken. Our relationships are built on words and they carry power - the power to build up and the power to tear down. A. Word. The power to make a difference in the lives of others. Since I've been reading her blog I've been pretty quiet. I've been so scared to open my mouth for fear the wrong words are going to come out and I will mess someone up forever. I'm just kidding; however, it has made me think about choosing my words carefully, thoughtfully, lovingly and before I speak. I've been thinking about what word or words have impacted my life? And how my words have impacted others - especially my family.

I also listen to the K-LOVE radio station (97.3 FM in KC) on my way to work in the morning. They, too, are talking about "words" and choosing a word for this next year that will exemplify your life for 2011. Even my boss came to me the other day (she listens to K-LOVE, as well) and challenged me to pick a word for 2011. So, after tossing the idea around for a few weeks, I have settled on my special word.

My word is "Offering". I'm praying that God will give me an awareness of situations where I can be an "offering" to Him and an offering OF Him - an offering of my thoughts, my words, my actions. I want to focus this year on being aware of His presence in the people I meet and in the situations I encounter as I go through the moments of my day.

I looked up Webster's definition of Offering and this is what it says:
 something offered;  especially: a sacrifice ceremonially offered as a part of worship
I love how Webster always seems to use the very word to define the word - that is so confusing to me. I don't know that I necessarily believe an offering has to be a sacrifice. However, I do like the part about being offered as part of worship. Is there any better way to offer Praise and Worship to God than by offering thoughts, words and actions on His behalf? My definition of offering - to give with love. So, that is my word.

My house is full of words. I love words. I have words on my walls, words on the rocks around my plants, words on pictures and signs, words on my bathroom mirror, words in the mass of books I have on my bedroom floor.  I have words everywhere I look. Words that are important to me, words that define my life. And, I want my words to matter...

So, two birds with one stone - I pray my offerings make a difference.