Friday, June 23, 2017

Moxie...

"MOXIE: It's a street-smart spirit that's as old as recorded history and as new as the rising son. David had it; Goliath didn't. It can jump oceans and move mountains. It's a spirit of being that says, "I was born to do this!"

Recently one of my students came to me and asked if I had time to talk. My answer is always the same. "Of course I do. How much time do you need?" She is someone who has been struggling, struggling for a long time. She is bone-weary and spirit sore. She feels tired from the "fight of just surviving." She wonders if there can be another day that is rich with meaning, instead of being full of fear and trauma.

I met her at school, early one morning when we didn't have classes, and she came with two cups of Starbucks coffee. She had heard me say in class, when asked what my favorite coffee was, that I liked an iced mocha, but it had to be decaf. She remembered the specifics and her whole face lit up when I said, "Look at YOU. You even remembered what kind of coffee I like. That's a real deposit for me. Way to go and pay attention."

Now mind you, she has been in my Gender Communication class where we learn about bids, and deposits and withdrawals from our emotional bank accounts. We learn about turning toward others and the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse. We learn about John Gottman and the sturdy relationship house. 

So when I said, "that's a real deposit for me," she knew exactly what I was talking about. A grin slowly spread across her face.

After a few dibs and dabs at conversation, I call them that since they are the precursor to what someone really wants to talk about, she began.

"I don't know where to start. I am so messed up. I feel like who I am is just slipping away, right in from of my eyes."

Big tears started to cascade down her cheeks, cheeks caked with makeup to hide anything that might look like an imperfection. She looked down, almost as if that was the only place she belonged. Under the radar. Out of sight. Not visible. Not worthy of looking someone straight in the eye.

"How do you do it?" she said as the tears started to roll. Almost like the ocean, wave-after-wave of tears and sobs.

I let her cry and just stayed in that very sad moment with her.
What an honor that she could be so real with me.

Finally, when the time seemed right, I reached out and took her hand and then, with my small, left hand, I gently raised her chin up so she could look at me.

Again she repeated the question, this time with even more energy, "How do you do it, Linda?" she added, "You are always so positive, so full of life and spirit. I have been watching you. Day-after-day you come in here filled up. My Grandma told me that some people have "moxie," this deep sense of spirit and purpose. You have that," she said, barely able to look at me. 

"How do you do it?" she said, sounding more frustrated this time, as if how she was going about life just left her depleted.

I let her question rest in the air. I knew the answer, but wanted to share it gently. When I was ready, and had sent God a fast, "Help me Lord, help me to honor You with these words," I said, almost in a small, quiet whisper...

"I am not the one who does it, sweetie. God does it. I am just His vessel. What you see is His spirit in me."

This is what I love to call a "sacred moment." It is really why, after 50 years, I am still teaching. This is really what gives me grit and "moxie," as her Grandma used to say.

"Moxie" is a word that doesn't get used very much anymore.
Yet I love that word, enough so that some years back I purchased a small book and that word was the title. The book is filled with quotations, one liners as I like to call them.

I love the sayings. They are full of sparkle and pazzaze. They resonate with what I call "grit" and courage and resilience. Yet as much as I love the sayings, they leave me just a tad empty and asking the same kind of question my student was asking.

Where does genuine "moxie" come from?

My take is that if you see what looks like "moxie" or courage or grit in me, well it comes from the God I know and love and serve.

I would have "burned out" years ago if my spirit just came from me. At the first and fifth and twentieth tragedy or trauma, by myself I most likely would have folded.

Now please do not misunderstand me. When God made me, He made me to jump oceans and move mountains. He made me to shine and share His love. He didn't make me to live life quietly, although He did make some folks to do that.

When He made me, He gave me a "go get um' spirit!"
He infused me with a deep, deep love for others and a brimming-over passion for life. He made me to live "out loud" and to share my passion for living with others. 

Yet, most of all, He made me to live with Him at the center of my life. Not me at the center, Him at the center. That's what my student saw. She saw God at work in me.

So back to the coffee conversation...

She slowly looked up and squeezed my hand. "Really, it's God in you that I see?"

"Yup. You got it," I said." This 70 year old wife and Mama and Nana and teacher and friend, relies on Him. Who you see is God at work in my life."

And that, my friends, is why I keep teaching. That is why I am still in the classroom where He wants me. So many of my students are so thirsty for life. They are amazing people, yet many of them feel really empty. I am there to share His love with them, for them to perhaps, if I get out of the way, see Him shining so brightly that they will want Him in their lives.

And she did, want Him. And right there, in that classroom waiting to be moved to a new location...filled with old boxes ready to go downstairs for fall classes...we talked about God's love and how He is a God that never leaves us or forsakes us. He is a God, that if we let Him, fills us up day-after-day. He is the God who is the Alpha and Omega, the one we can lean on when life throws us unimaginable curve balls. 

I asked her if I might share her story on my blog, as long as I didn't use her name. She said, "Yes, of course. Maybe someone will want to know Him because of my story."

She picked up her heavy book bag, and I gave her a big hug. As she started to leave she turned around, this time with a big, old grin on her face. "Thanks!" she said. "I won't ever forget our talk." And I replied, "Neither will I, sweetie. Neither will I."


God Bless!
Love, Linda





Friday, June 09, 2017

A Bright Spot in a Very Hard Week...




"The most precious jewels you will ever have around your neck are the arms of a child!"

This week a very dear friend, and teaching colleague of 25 years, passed away in her sleep. Totally unexpectedly. She wasn't even ill for one day. 

Karen Clark was such a bright light, such a caring soul. She lived her life with love, kindness and quiet dignity. She was an amazing teacher and a steadfast friend. Even in the darkest of moments, Karen was a reminder of pure goodness. While Karen loved God, she didn't broadcast her faith. She just lived it. She spread love, His love, everywhere she went.

We are heartbroken, those of us who knew and loved Karen. Her students are grief-stricken. 

We are all in shock. 

* We are reminded that you can be here one day and gone the next. 

* We are reminded that life is short, often much shorter than we want it to be. 

* We are reminded to tell those we love that we love them, and to do it today!

So many reminders...so many life-lessons.

And in the midst of this profound grief, this little girl, sweet Annora Grace, has had her arms around my neck. Hugging me. Reminding me that "All is well"... even when it isn't. 

Her hugs have been a reminder of God's love, even in the midst of pain.

As I look at Annora's pictures posted here, I am also reminded of my very dear, forever friend, Jackie. For Annora's first birthday, my thoughtful and sweet friend got her several darling outfits, all monogramed with Annora's initials. 

Annora, or "Kissy" as we call her, is wearing one of our favorite outfits in this picture. 

Thank you, dear Jackie, for your friendship and love and your prayers for sweet Annora Grace! You are such a treasure!

And this week, this little sweetie of 13 months is taking steps all on her own. Look out world, she is on her way!! Annora, and her hugs, have been been a bright spot in a very hard week.

God Bless!
Love, Linda 


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Hallelujah Anyway...



           "Kindness toward others and radical kindness
         to ourselves buy us a shot at a warm and 
         generous heart, which is the greatest prize of 
         all. Do you want this, or do you want to be 
         right? Well, can I get back to you on that?
                                             -Anne Lamott
                                                                      Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy


I have not been able to hold back the tears. Lately, it seems, my tear ducts have been working overtime and they overflow with hope and sadness and feelings. Just as the Spokane River has been near flood stage for months, as the snow in the mountains starts to thaw, my heart seems unable to hold back a flood of emotions.

Raw emotions.

Emotions laced with hope and fear and joy and pain.

When life gets like this, when I get like this, I always turn to Jesus with the same prayer. A one word prayer, which given that I am an extrovert and never say things in a succinct sort of way, is amazing.

HELP!

That's the prayer. It's quite ironic, really, to say that to God as I know He is more than one step ahead of me. I imagine Him hearing that prayer, looking at my broken heart, and thinking to Himself something along this line...

"Well, good for her. It's about time. I've been waiting for her to stop rushing around long enough to realize that she is a bit of a mess."

Now, just to be clear, I am not all together certain that God would use that kind of language, but I am pretty darn sure that He gets my call for HELP! No matter what tongue or language I say it in.

Now, you see the God I know and Love and serve is
a God that heals broken hearts. He's a God that takes me where I am and helps me move to a better place.
He is a God that never, ever, ever gives up on me, even when I have thrown in the towel and have given up on myself.

Did anything of a huge magnitude happen that broke my heart? Not really.

It was simply one nasty, mean email laced with passive aggression that threw me for a loop. It shocked me. It left me wondering what had I ever done to her that she would throw so much clear bitterness my way.

After reading the email, I did what I almost never do.
I didn't respond right away. Instead, I just let the tears flow and I prayed. I asked God, what would You have me do? And I waited for a reply, a clear direction from Him.

I waited for a whole week and felt vulnerable and sad all week long. Amazingly, I didn't try to bury those feelings. I just sat with them and owned them.
I didn't try to run away from them.

And then one early morning, after my usual prayer time, I picked up Anne Lamott's latest book... 
             
            Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy

Anne and I go way back. Not way back  like old friends go back. Not like Linny Wise and I go back. But Anne and I go back like a reader and an author go back. :)

Anne whose words and vulnerability and authentic spirit gave me hope that I, too, with all of my humanness could  be a Christian. Anne, with her dreadlocks and gut-level honesty, who shared her journey to God and Christ...with side trips to Buddah and the Jewish faith. In her writing she introduced me to the kind of faith, the LOVE is at the center-of-it- all kind of faith.

Anne just spoke authentically to my "I grew up a Catholic and met Jesus face-to-face at a Young Life Camp called Malibu" kind-of-self.

You see I had wondered if being a Christian meant that I needed to know God just like everyone else did.

Was there really only one way to know God, I wondered when I was in 9th grade? Did I have to pray using words like Thou and Thee or could I just let it all spill out...in my own words, knowing He would love me anyway? 

What I have come to know and believe with all my heart after all these years since 9th grade may sound radical to some folks and that is okay with me.

It boils down to this... 

* God loves me, no matter what. 
* He is there for me, always
* Even when I am the biggest mess, God does not leave me or   forsake me.

That was good to know and remember when the mean email hit my mailbox.

I cry easily these days and as I read each word, which may or may not have been written with hurt in mind, well... I just lost it.

I felt like my heart had been torn in pieces. I knew some day that I would be able to better understand what was behind this, or what I had unknowingly done to provoke this. 

Yet on that day when I got the email, I felt like a first grader on Valentine's day with a heart on your desk waiting for your friends in class to leave you a Valentine. Reading them one-by- one, and smiling with the kind messages...

I then opened a mean one.

Words are powerful. Words can hurt, no matter what grade you are in.

I prayed and prayed about what to say. I asked God to give me a humble heart. In my return email I apologized if I had done anything to hurt her. Not my intent. With God's help I restrained from arguing back or saying something like "Are you kidding me? Why in the world would you say something so mean, so accusatory? Why would you even suggest that I was not telling the truth?"

After getting the return email from her, laced with
more passive aggression, even though a less hostile 
kind, I just gave up replying. I realized that perhaps what was going on had little to do with me.

All God really wanted me to do was to offer her kindness, especially in the midst of whatever pain she was feeling. And He wanted me to give her radical kindness, especially since she had not offered that to me.

He wanted me to forgive her, just as He had forgiven me.

I felt like saying..."seriously, you want me to do WHAT?
Offer her kindness? Forgive her?"

It was a small to large miracle that I  set my own hurt aside to show her visibly that I cared for her, no matter what she had said to me. I am still working on the forgiveness part.

I love what Anne Lamott says about not forgiving...
   "Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and waiting  
      for the rat to die."
                       - Anne Lamott- Traveling Mercies


And I am doing just that. Little step after little step.
I did something nice and unexpected for her, and every day I am asking God's help in forgiving her.

It isn't easy, but then doing what God wants me to do, and not what I want, usually is never easy (or at least not easy for me).

And after it was all said and done, I picked up Anne's book again and looked at the words in the title...
                         Hallelujah Anyway

Praise God... anyway. Even when you get mean emails.
Praise God... anyway. Even when you have cancer.
Praise God... anyway. Even when you are at your lowest low or highest high.

Even when it is the hardest hard, ever... Praise Him anyway.

Amen and Amen!
Love, 
Linda




Sunday, May 21, 2017

Resilience....

         
             "Resilience is bouncing back
                   from personal adversity."
                                     Option B- Sheryl Sandberg     

I really don't know where to start. It seems like forever since I have written on this blog. And so, so much has happened.

In the midst of a very busy quarter, and planning for a huge Spring Communication Conference at the college, I realized that I had committed to do a talk at the conference. Granted, I do a talk at every conference, yet this time it was about a topic that wasn't a topic I generally am asked to speak on. Comfortable topics abound. Conflict Management- check. I teach a class on it and love sharing about it. Gender Communication-check. Same scenario.

Yet this time I was asked to speak on Resilience...
a topic I knew very little about from an academic perspective. I was a new learner when it came to the topic of resilience.

Yet God always has a way, doesn't He! He knows what I need to know before I even know I need to know it.

When I was asked to speak on resilience, by a group of college students, amazingly I was smack dab in the middle of reading Sheryl Sandberg's amazing book:

         Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience,
        and Finding Joy.       

I was simultaneously reading another book about The Science of Happiness that had a major section on resilience.

After starting both books I could hardly breathe since the topic was so close to home, so close to my heart. I remember saying to Bert, you know that resilience thing? You know how I have always thought of myself as resilient? Well, I pretty much have decided that I know nothing, or at least very little, about this topic. And I think it's fair to say that it is very important."

And then as God (not luck) would have it, students
honored me by asking me to talk about that which I need to learn.

Perfect! (and I am not being sarcastic here).

And so I read and talked and read and cried. I knew
there was so much I needed to learn, for my students, for the conference goers, for myself.

Here are just a few of  the things I took in and talked about at the conference:

1) Resilience is bouncing back from personal adversity.

2) There are several "myths" about resilience:

* Myth #1: People are either born resilient or not
born resilient. Resilience is personality based.
In truth, while some people have what we call
"resilient personalities," anyone can be taught to be more resilient.
* Myth#2: Only young strong people are resilient.
In truth, resilience is not age-dependent.

3) There are six tools to help you "grow" your resilience:
* Feel your grief, do not stuff your feelings.
* Have active optimism (where you not only think positively, but make a plan for how to achieve the result you want.)
* Positive self-talk 
* Finding support from others
* Get help from others-faith, counseling, journaling
* Reclaim your joy

I then talked about my resilience "role models"-
those dear folks who have taught me so much about resilience. 

They are:
Bert (my beloved hubby), 
Vicky Westra (my dear friend and soul sis), 
Mattie Stepanik, and 
my students at SCC.

I could hardly get through talking about both Bert and Vicky, and seeing their pictures on that huge screen, without falling apart. So I just let the tears flow.

I am not done learning about resilience, but I am so grateful to God for leading me in this direction. His mighty strength is what has held me up the past few weeks as the health of one of our dearies has been tested. His strength has held me up as I have heard about Vicky's latest medical procedure. 

And as I journal and pray and ask others to pray, I am reminded that even in the toughest adversities, I can build resilience and find joy because of His love!

God Bless!
Love, Linda

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Embracing the NOW..."

              "I have eyes for the here.
                For the now, and the nearly now...
                just now."
                                  -Vicky Westra, my dear soul sis

Yesterday was a beautiful mix of life's contradictions, almost like the kind of stew my Mama used to make. Every delicious bite hand-made with love, every vegetable and ingredient well-chosen. 

I'll have a dash of great joy, add a pinch of fear, relief, and concern, and serve piping hot in a gorgeous old bowl full of family history.

Just saying the word "Mama" makes me miss mine and the tears just start to flow.

I remember being in the kitchen with my Mom when she was going to make stew. My Dad and I were full of anticipation for the tastes and smells to come. Comfort, true comfort in every bite. Food made with love.

All of this comes to my mind and heart after reading a blog post from my very dear friend, Vicky Westra. If you have read this blog before, you have heard just a bit of her story. She is my soul sis, a true gift from God. She has been a teacher to me, someone who has enriched my life at every turn. There is so much goodness in Vicky, so much wisdom.

Yes, she has stage 4 breast cancer that has now progressed.
Yes, in this latest treatment her hair has fallen out, again.
Yes, she is absolutely beautiful inside and out, no matter if her hair is her own or an amazing gift from friends.

Yet what struck me most, and what I most needed to hear this week, was what Vicky said after finding out that her cancer had progressed...

  "I have eyes for the here. For the now, and the nearly now... 
       just now."     

This last week I have honestly struggled with being in the now.
I have wandered into the past and had some anxiety about the future. My beloved Bert had some medical tests this week after some pretty significant weight loss and his doctor was concerned about why this might be happening. So yesterday we spent a good part of the morning in a medical lab taking all kinds of tests. After a 14 hour fast leading into all of the pricking and poking, we were both a little dizzy.

I have wandered into "What if this happens?" "What if
that happens.." I have been in a pretty steady dialogue with God... asking for His peace, asking for His grace.

When I read Vicky's words a puzzle piece just fell into place.
An answer to prayer. He has it all, and I do mean ALL, in His Almighty hands. He knows what is in store, and He will be there in the midst of whatever comes next.

Not only was yesterday filled with a few chunks of anxiety, it was sprinkled with immeasurable JOY. Our precious granddaughter Annora Grace had her first birthday party. Bert and I could not stop smiling. Just seeing her laughing and giggling and hugging and kissing brings us such joy. Pictures to follow. :)

We were in the NOW, and we were reminded that God is with us and All Shall be Well!
God Bless!
Love, 
Linda



Saturday, April 15, 2017

Powerful Lessons About Forgiveness...

            Forgiveness is unlocking the door
              to set someone free and then
              realizing that you were the prisoner.

What were the chances this could happen? Totally improbable, unless you realize that God has a plan and can do what seems impossible. This week a moment at school, orchestrated by God, taught me some very powerful lessons about forgiveness. 

One of my students came into my class on Monday physically shaken. Tears were streaming down her face, her hands were moving back and forth, her body trembling like she had a high fever. It seemed as if she was having a panic attack, right there in class. 

I knew something was very wrong. I asked if she was okay and she shook her head that she wasn't. Trying not to embarrass her I brought her outside into a private part of the hall. She still could not stop crying. I asked her to take a deep breath and slowly exhale. She did.

Then, after what seemed like an eternity, she whispered, "It's him."

I didn't know who "him" was, but I didn't need to know. Whoever it was she had seen, it had brought back horrible memories. 

After minutes of keeping my arm around her and encouraging her to breathe, she started to get the words out. While it is her story to tell, and not mine, the lesson is one I can share. Long story short,  some years back someone had broken into her home. She had come across the intruder as the person was taking her son's money. She looked the person in the face, and it was a face she would never forget.

She called the authorities, got a picture of the get away vehicle and the individual was arrested. They were sent to jail. The
entire time they were in there, my student felt safe. But now that they were out, she didn't feel safe any longer.

She had put her fear on hold, and then saw the person at school. Right there and it had all rushed back, like torrents of water breaking a dam. The violation and fear had returned.

As she told the story I wondered, what can we do? After all, our college is open and a healing place for many who have made mistakes. She had been wronged in the worst way, but the person who had wronged her had been held accountable, paid the price, and had the right to be in school to make a new life.

Yet all of that rationality aside, when you have been violated as she was, seeing the person who wronged you brings it all back.
All of it. Years and years of hatred and fear and pain.

Gradually as I talked to her I realized I had a pickle on my hands. I wanted to help her, and I wanted to help the person who had wronged her. 

How in the world could this be made right?

So I did what I always try to do in situations that seem hopelessly mired in pain, confusion and fear. 

I prayed.

I prayed right there in that hall, while I was holding her hand. I prayed off and on all day between classes. I asked God to ease the hurt and to let forgiveness and reconciliation flow. I told the good Lord God Almighty that I couldn't "fix this," but I knew He could. Finally, after praying, my own heart rate started to settle down.

The next day she again came to class. Again tears were streaming down her face. She could not stop crying. I knew
instantly why she was upset again, and I took her back to the private place in the hall.

Slowly, through sobs, she got the story out. She had seen the person again and just couldn't walk by, pretending not to know him. She had stopped him, asked if he knew who she was, and when she told him her name... his face fell and he looked down in shame. His own tears came as quiet sobs. 

He was visibly shaken as he confronted the victim of his crime, Yet instead of being angry or defensive he said, over and over again, " I am so, so sorry. I was such a mess back then. I did an awful thing to you. Please forgive me. I am so, so sorry."

And there, in that hall in the college where I have taught for over forty years, she hugged him, and he hugged her back. 

She said, "I forgive you. I am proud of you for being in school and getting your life together. You can show me you mean what you say by always being in class and living your life not hurting others."

There in that hall she forgave him. There in that hall, he apologized from his heart. 

Forgiveness happened right there in that hall at SCC. 
Profound forgiveness. The kind of forgiveness God asks of all of us.

Forgive one another as I have forgiven you.

It was not lost on me that this profound act of forgiveness
freed him of the shame of making a huge mistake, but it also freed her of the anger and fear.

It was not lost on me that this act of forgiveness took place 
during Holy Week. It took place on the week when those of us who love God and Jesus mourn that He was placed on a cross, through no sins of His own, and was crucified for my sins. Your sins.

Everyone's sins.

Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.

Forgive them as they are nailing you to a cross? Forgive them after they have dug thorns into your head and mocked you and
yelled obscenities at you?

Forgive them for turning their back on you and denying that they even know you?

Yes, after all of that, He still forgave us.

Just like my student in that hall, God puts his arms around us and hugs us when we are truly sorry for what we have done.

Jesus is my absolute model for forgiveness. For making the ultimate sacrifice. For taking the sins of the world on himself
so that I might have life and have it more abundantly.

And this young lady, who forgave her intruder, put her arms around him and asked him not to do this again, she is a role model to me of living her faith. 

Really living her faith.

Today is Saturday, the day before Easter, the day before a resurrection, the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

This morning as I share this lesson I learned about forgiveness from my student, I realize that she was my teacher about how to really forgive. 

She had been a prisoner to anger and fear, and as she forgave she unlocked the door to set the other person free. Yet in all truth, in doing that, she also became free herself. Her forgiveness was the first step in her own resurrection.

What a profound lesson in forgiveness. What a gift she gave him and what a lesson in forgiveness she taught me. 

As Easter approaches, may you know in your deepest heart of hearts that God loves you, just as you are. May you know
the gift of His deep love and forgiveness.

Happy Easter, dear friends! Amen and Amen!
Love,
Linda





  






Saturday, April 08, 2017

Hurrah! At last...

                         The day the Lord
                      created HOPE
                    was probably the
                        same day He
                       created Spring!
                                                                                    - Bernard Williams


It has been a long, long, l-o-n-g winter here in Spokane. We have had record-breaking amounts of snow and ice and record-breaking amounts of rain and flooding.

Almost every time the sun came out you could hear an audible sigh of contentment from all of us Spokanites.

We are sun hungry, that's for sure.

I have been waiting desperately for signs of spring. Truth be told, I have even been a tiny bit grumpy because spring seems to be taking its own sweet time to get here. It is clearly not on my schedule.

I am so, so ready for the grass to turn green, the soggy lawn to show life and the carefully planted daffodils to start blooming. I am ready to have temperatures higher than 40.

I am ready for new life and new beginnings.

My beloved Bert might be just a bit tired of my exclaiming with horror (just today) "Can that really be rain and SNOW falling? Are you kidding me?"

On top of my evaluation of the weather, I must ask Bert almost daily..."Have you seen one yet?"

Quietly, knowing how anxious I am for spring to get here, 
Bert just nods and slowly shakes his head sideways.
He knows, especially after being married to me for 34 years, that I am not going to love his answer. 

So he looks away and says, "Not yet."

Then, knowing that my word for 2017 is HOPE, Bert looks up, smiles, winks, and proclaims...

        "It won't be long, honey. I'll keep watch for you.
           The minute I see it, I'll run and get you."

With quite a dramatic sigh, I manage to say, "Ok."

This saga of waiting and anticipating brings back several old memories...

As a young girl I could hardly stand it until Christmas got here. I would count the days until Jesus was born and Santa finally came down the chimney at our house

I figured that old St. Nick would be awhile since he had to bring presents to all the children world-wide.

I also couldn't wait until my birthday got here. The anticipation often kept me awake at night as I imagined just how it would be. My mind anticipated every detail, even down to the taste of the icing on my cake.

I've never been great at waiting...wasn't great then and I am still not great now.

Bert actually loves that part of me, the part that anticipates positive things and can hardly wait until they get here. The part of me that just holds my breath until  football season, or Christmas or even the start of school.

Yet what have we been waiting for these days, you might ask?

Simple answer: The first green leaf

Not just any green leaf, mind you, but the first green leaf on a tree in our yard.

Yesterday, as we were backing out of our driveway, I happened to look up  and caught a glimpse of color.

Much to Bert's amazement, I stopped the car, flung
myself out the door, ran across the lawn and started to jump up and down in sheer glee!

I yelled, "Hurrah! At last it's here. I knew it would come!"

Bert, a tad dazed by my hasty exit from our vehicle,
decided to come take a look at what was causing all the ruckus.

He looked up, saw that tender bud of a leaf ( I promise you could see just the smallest bit of greenand grinned from ear-to-ear.

He said, "Well isn't that perfect, honey. Here it is our 34th anniversary and God gave us a present. And He must have known what a sign of HOPE that present would be, especially for you."

Yup...exactly. The most perfect gift ever!

So there you have it. After we returned from our errands, and some Baskin and Robbins ice cream (after all it was 46 degrees out), we started to do detective work all over our yard. 

We were on the look out for more green leaves.

Yes, a sign of HOPE. A sign of God's love. A sign that
"all is well!"

A sign of fresh beginnings. A sign that in times of change and tension, that God is still here, right where He belongs, doing what He has always done...bringing new life.

Not only have I been searching for the first green leaf, the past weeks have been a time of searching my heart about my relationship with my Lord.

During this season of Lent, I take lots of time to look at the hard things in life, the challenges that take your breath away. I take time to ponder and look, really look, at how I am living each day. How am I living for God? What sacrifices am I willing to make for Him? 

Lent isn't easy, but it marks the anticipation of a sacrifice and much needed resurrection. 

Lent reminds me that just like searching for the first
leaf of spring, I need to search my own heart. Lent
leads me to Easter.

Spring and Easter are all about HOPE and SACRIFICE and RESURRECTION and new beginnings. They are about focusing on what really matters.

Just as I exclaimed about spring,  "Hurrah, at last. 
I knew it would come," I can also exclaim about Easter "Hurrah, at last. I knew He could come."

God Bless, Happy Spring and have a blessed Easter!
Love, 
Linda
            



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