Monday, January 8, 2018

VE Day in France / Memorial Day in the U.S.



I cried when I first saw this...

You see the organization Thanks GIs is dedicated to keeping the memory of those who fought to liberate Metz in NE France alive.  My Dad was just one of those men. At 19 years of age in his first major battle, he was wounded and captured and dragged through Poland and Germany as a POW in late 1944 through the war's end in1945. 

Though he never wished to return and revisit those daunting times and places, he was convince (by me) to return to France and participate in a VE Day celebration (May 8th) in Corny in 2005.  Corny actually had a special place in my Dad's history.  It was the scene of his first reconnaissance mission, one which was mostly a disaster including loss of life. 

Now 13 years later, I still have ties to France. I have made life-long French friends who have enriched my life immensely and have brought me joy and blessings beyond measure.

Take a moment to give thanks for those who have and today are putting their lives on the line to protect the rights and freedoms that we as Americans enjoy.

An Old Prayer for a New Year

At the beginning of a New Year, our thoughts often go to New Year's resolutions, working out AGAIN, eating better, giving up our unhealthy habits and ways, and maybe even becoming a better person.

But let us take pause and dig a bit deeper. This is Thomas Aquinas and I think that his 13th century prayer is totally relevant for today...

Painting by Sandro Botticelli 1481-2
Give us, O Lord, a steadfast heart,
which no selfish desires may drag downwards;
Give us an unconquered heart,
which no troubles can wear out;
Give us an upright heart,
which no unworthy ambitions may tempt aside.

Give us also, O Lord our God,
understanding to know you,
perseverance to seek you,
wisdom to find you,
and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.




When I first found this, I immediately felt its importance and felt its impact.  But it took me awhile to sit with it and ponder and allow the full weight of it to sink in. 

Here is my paraphrase...
Give me, O Lord, a heart that is loyal and does not waiver,
Help me not to think only of myself lest I become selfish and self-serving;
Give me a heart that's strong and resilient,
Help me to not be weighed down by the difficulties that come my way;
Give me a decent and honest heart,
Help me to not be led astray down inconsequential and meaningless paths.

Give me also, O Lord my God,
Understanding to know the real You,
Persistence to look for you at all times and in all situations,
Wisdom to know when I've found You,
And a faith that holds on to You through Jesus Christ our Lord.



Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Years to Me


I look forward to January 1 almost as much as Christmas morning.  Every New Years morning I sit down with a cup of hot cocoa and open my BLUE BOX. Every time I am treated to all of the stories of the year that have blessed me.  They come in all shapes and forms ...pictures, gifts, cards, emails, letters and handwritten notes that I've tossed in my box.  Some are vivid memories and others are pleasant surprises that had been forgotten amidst the clamor and busyness of the year.

Today I cried as I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and blessing. Now I must reach out and return the blessing  HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Wabi Sabi

Okay you've never heard of "Wabi Sabi."  Well it was a new one to me too.  Nope...it's not a nomadic African tribe. Nope...it's not a plant used as a pungent condiment in Japanese cooking.

I first ran across this term while perusing an internet story on the restoration of a beautiful old relic: The Chateau de Gudanes in Dordone, France.  Chateau de Gudanes



There are a number of slightly varying definitions, but if you condense them all, WABI-SABI means:
PATINA
SERENITY
QUIETNESS
FRESHNESS
RUSTIC SIMPLICITY
UNDERSTATED ELEGANCE
NATURAL FLAWED BEAUTY
REVERENCE FOR AUTHENTICITY
BEAUTY THAT COMES WITH AGE


Looking around my house I find my own version of "Wabi-Sabiness." My house is filled with things I love that have no special value or meaning to anyone else except family.  I have my own "cracked teakettle," I have candle "cages" and have no idea what they were originally, nor do I care because though they are old and rusted, they are just too cool and no one else has them.Then there's my old concrete French cherubs with the patina of many years. When I walk by and glance at them they bring me joy and fill my soul because there's a special story that goes with them. And my patio is the one place in the world that I most love to be.  The antique French chairs are chipping and rusting to show the layers of blue and white paint accented with rust.  They are just my size and oh so comfortable.  Wouldn't have them any other way.




But most of all, I can relate to what "Wabi Sabi" says about me! I'd like to think that life has created a special patina on me.  And hopefully a beauty and grace that comes with age.  The bags under my eyes, the saggy skin, and graying hair have created that certain flawed beauty. And I hope that a rustic simplicity alongside a quietness and serenity are who I am becoming. I'd like to think the my chinks and cracks are being filled with gold by My Maker and He's making repairs that make me more "beautiful" than ever.





 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

My Favorite Soviet Spy...

If you watched Sunday evening's Oscars, you might remember Mark Rylance winning Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Rudolf Abel, the Soviet spy, in the recent movie Bridge of Spies. I thought it was just me that LOVED and connected with him, but I guess not...

There's a great story behind this. For the past year I've had multiple health issues that consumed my time, energy, and concern. I have often felt overwhelmed with worry not knowing how it would or wouldn't work out. I dealt with an almost daily struggle to hold it all together. Finally God, who knows me best, said, "Deb, let me help you with this. Let me give you a visual that's gonna make sense of this for you. You can quote all the Scripture verses, but that doesn't seem to be working for you. So I'm sending you to the movies." Huh? That movie was BRIDGE OF SPIES, the Tom Hanks/Steven Spielberg movie about the American lawyer who represented the Soviet spy who was ultimately exchanged for the American U2 pilot, Francis Gary Powers, during the Cold War in the 1960s. Now I was a little kid during that time and really had no desire to hear "that story" again. I thought maybe that should be a guys' night out and I would just stay home. But no, I went. What I hadn't known was the incredible back story behind what I remembered. The Soviet spy turned out to be an endearing, little (as in short of stature), introvert and artist who also happened to be a spy. Ok, ok, the connection was not lost on me. (I am also a short, introverted artist). I liked him immensely, spy or not. Then WOW...during the initial trial scene, Tom Hanks leans over to his client and asks him, "Aren't you at all worried about the outcome? (Like this is espionage and your life is on the line). The cute little artist-spy's reply was short and to the point, "Would it help?" Several more times throughout the movie, the same question was repeated in varying versions. "Aren't you afraid?" "Aren't you concerned?" The answer was always predictable. "Would it make a difference?" "Would it do me any good?" Ok, I got it. It's a visual parable that makes sense and works for me. Thank you, God, for working with me on this one!


Monday, February 1, 2016

Unplugged


What is this, you ask?  Well ...this is me reading in the dark with a headlamp. 

You see, not long ago we had a 10-hour power outage.  It was just long enough to be fun and not so long as to spoil food or get overly cold or make life too difficult.

The result was a little "enlightenment" and the beginnings of a new tradition. You see, we enjoyed that evening very much. Frank brought home a take-out supper and we sat around the table with lots of candles. Ahhh, the atmosphere was wonderful! Then we had hours and hours without tv or computers or any electronics.  It was actually quite nice being "unplugged."  I chose to do something that I don't normally do. I picked up a book I'd written on our family history and re-read it from cover to cover.  I once again enjoyed the pictures and stories and memories.  If there hadn't been a power outage, I wouldn't have slowed down and taken the time.



The take away is:  We have made being "unplugged" a regular part of our lives.  Often after dinner, we retreat to the living room, curl up in a chair with a cup of tea and settle in with a good book.

Try it! You'll like it!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Stop and Play with the Cricket


While out walking the other evening, I came across this cute scene.

I must have watched for several minutes while an adorable little black puppy entertained himself with a cricket. He would pounce on it, play with it, and roll it around in his mouth. And do it all over again and again. The puppy was very gentle and didn't seem to want to eat it or hurt it. He was just having fun playing. (I'll bet the cricket saw it very differently).

I was reminded to "stop and play with the cricket" aka "smell the roses."