White Rabbit Syndrome

“I’m late, I’m late! For a very important date . . .
And you know the rest.

It’s a cold Tuesday morning in January when my day begins to splinter, threatening to shred my best laid plans.

Uh oh. The red numbers on the bedroom clock blink through another minute. I zip into my skirt and shrug into my suit jacket.

A mini tidal wave of coffee sails over the edge of the mug, misses my hand and skirt, but sinks into the . . .
No!

Yes.
Into the carpet.
I grab a towel and mop at the mess, muttering something unkind regarding mug handles that totally ignores the truth.

Note to self: Don’t try to walk, balance coffee mug, think about dog food, and adjust bra strap at the same time.

Ready.

Not quite. I glance at my shoeless feet and rocket into the dark closet groping for my black heels.

I’m late, the last one to leave the house. The board meeting starts at 8:30 and is a twenty minute drive. My report won’t present itself and, ohhh, if I don’t get going, I’m not going to make it on time.

Purse and briefcase in hand, I shoot a passionate prayer for help heavenward and lock the door behind me.

Two hours later, Deb grabs the ringing phone as I walk into the office and through the reception area. We both mouth a whispered “Hi.”

I poke my head into Kay’s office. “Looks like you two are having a busy morning.”

Kay nods. It’s been crazy. How did your meeting go?” She hands me several call-back notes as the second phone line chimes. She answers and asks the client to hold.

“It went well; I’ll tell you all about it later.” I turn to leave, but Kay’s sudden peal of laughter behind me turns me around.

She points at my feet. “Did you get dressed in the dark this morning? Look at your shoes!”

I stare down at my feet. What’s she talking about? My shoes look perfectly normal. Black heels, closed toes. Identical.  

Already answering the phone with her friendly “This is Kay, may I help you?” she dodges my questioning look and grins at me.

I twist to look at the back of the heels as I remember the rocket-dive into my dark cave of a closet this morning. On my left foot, a sling-back. On my right, enclosed back. Great!

I shrug and shake my head, attempting to reflect Kay’s cute/sassy smile, and leave her to her phone call.

In my office both shoes come off and I hold them up. Heat creeps into my cheeks.
No one had said a word at the meeting, and now I sink back into my chair, trying to see the humor in all this.

At least, Kay and Debbie know the stress I’m under these days, running the business, care-taking my elderly parents, and more. I couldn’t do it without them. Later, the three of us share a good laugh, and since I never find the time to go home and change, I just wear the offending mismatched shoes all day.

But this isn’t the end of my story.

~~ the following Friday morning,

Debbie and Kay have set up an appointment for me, so I’m a little early getting to work. I walk into my office, and instead of the expected client, Kay and Deb are waiting for me, sitting in front of my desk.

“You might want to sit down, we have something to tell you,” Kay says.

Uh oh.

I round the desk and sit like a bump, looking at them, then at my desk. No birthdays on the calendar. What are they up to?Laid out on desk, three cups of fresh coffee, warm coffee cake, pink carnations and baby’s breath in a little crystal vase circled with a pink ribbon. A beautiful card tells me I’m appreciated and that they understand all the heaviness in my life right now, that they’re here for me—

And there’s no way I can stay behind that desk. I get up to give them each a hug. but before I can, both smiling like Cheshire cats, they point at their feet, laughing.

I choke back tears. There, on those four sweet feet are four different black shoes.

Kay looks up at me, dead serious, “Just one thing you need to know. We are not going to wear ours all day like you did!”

Talk about feeling loved and encouraged. There’s no better way they could have shown their love and support.

Thanks, God, for my staff—I love You—and them.

“Oil and perfume rejoice the heart; so does the sweetness of a friend’s counsel that comes from the heart” (Proverbs 27:9 (AMP).

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV).

Clock-watching translates into stress, equaling anxiety and big nerves. Oh, and spilled stuff!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart . . . translates into peace beyond understanding.

Walk with Him.

Do you have a story to share? ☺

Love,

Sally

Stuck

Unless the Lord builds the house . . .

Such trouble I’m having this week, finding a subject to write about.
A little stressed because of a very busy last week and the time crunch, but trusting, praying, asking for something to write.

I reach for the Bible to search for what God might show me.

The pages fall open to 1Chronicles 22:18-19, and my eyes and imagination are caught up with the words:

“Is not the LORD your God with you?
And has He not given you rest on every side?
Now set your heart and soul to seek the Lord your God.
Therefore arise and build the sanctuary of the Lord God . . .”

So what are we building, Lord?
A sanctuary, a sacred or holy place. A place of refuge.

We’re building a small sacred place, a place of refuge. A place to spend a few moments together in wonder over the Lord and His universe, His creation, His people, and much more. Setting the scenes every week through photos and word-stories to share God’s love with you. And hope you feel free to share your heart too.

I think of those who have generously written articles for me to post here on the blog.

Thoughts of the artisan/craftsman, Bezalel, light up my mind, and some of his story in Scripture.

“Then Moses called Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, everyone whose heart was stirred, to come and do the work.” Exodus 36:2

And my mindset changes with a grin of realization that the Lord has just provided all I needed to share with you—

Whether you are a writer, a mom, a business owner, a caretaker, no matter what God has called you to do, if He has stirred your heart to do that work, He has put wisdom into you to accomplish it.

As Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Through Him, just as when Moses called Bezalel to make the tabernacle beautiful, we can do what we were called to do.

We’ve climbed a little mountain and looked up and found a crevice of sanctuary. “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way.” Dr. Suess

So if you find yourself stuck for a solution, consult the Master problem-solver and his Manual! ☺

The Lord has joy and laughter—and mountain climbing—ready for you!

Have you been stuck lately?

 

 

Count the Stars

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable
—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy
—think about such things”
(Philippians 4:8 NIV). Paul of TarsusAngelic guardian of Time

Thinking about things excellent and praiseworthy:

“In the beginning . . .”
When our time began . . .
God divided the light and dark to carve out day and night—the framework of our time.
“So the evening and the morning were the first day.” Genesis 1:5
And we began to count.
God’s first arithmetic challenge for mankind.

“Count the stars if you are able to number them.” Genesis 15:5
The amazing and beautiful image above is by my friend, Mike Sherick from the IMSM Observatory, Mayhill, New Mexico.

Click on the image to enlarge and enjoy it and to read the inscription. Click your back button to return to this page.

“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.” ~Marcus Aurelius

I’m thinking a lot about time, counting the years as they glide by in quickening succession. Right up there in the mind-boggling realm of counting the stars, is knowing God listens and answers our prayers with infinite love, fulfilling His eternal promises.

Let the Lord be your Anchor as you think about the wonder of Time and Prayer.
In the chapter “Time and Beyond Time” in his book, Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis’s writes:

“Almost certainly, God is not in Time. His life does not consist of moments following one another.”
“Ten-thirty—and every other moment from the beginning of the world—is always the Present for Him.”

A saying from the Blackfoot Nation makes me think, “whatever is pure, whatever is lovely.”

“What is life?
It is the flash of a firefly in the night.
It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime.
It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”


And the truths that Jesus spoke, “whatever is true, whatever is excellent”

“Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.” Luke 12:23
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

“Ah, Lord God! Behold,
You have made the heavens and the earth
by Your great power and outstretched arm.
There is nothing too hard for You.
Jeremiah 32:17

“To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven”
Ecclesiastes 3:1


Does what you think about help shape the story of your life?

What are your thoughts on Time or God’s attentiveness to our every prayer?

You are so loved by God. May the Lord lift you up and bless your thoughts today and every day.

Love,

Sally

 

 

 

Sometimes . . .

in the winds

of change

we find our

new direction.

I’m unsure who penned those words, but they seem to fit this first day of the New Year.

Do you have a new word, a new focus for this year?

My new word is JOY . . .

to walk through this year in JOY, discovering all its facets, trusting in the Lord for His will, His timing, His way.

♥ 

Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters, “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:16, 18-19 NKJV).

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV).

Looking forward . . .

Are you?

Love,

Sally

 

 

A First Christmas

I’m honored to have author, writer, speaker, and consultant, Sharon Brani as my guest. She relates the story of a day remembered, a day just prior to her trip to Russia which began an Unforgettable Christmas Journey.

Here’s Sharon in her own words . . .

It seems like yesterday since I first hung this decoration on my Christmas tree, but it’s been twenty-one years.

I remember the day so vividly.

My mom and I were busy shopping that day, buying cute little outfits for a six month old baby girl who waited in Russia to be adopted.

I had been notified three days earlier to buy my plane ticket to fly to Russia on December 19th.

My feet seemed to walk on air as we pushed the shopping cart around the store.

There was so much still to be done.

Buying gifts to take with me to Russia.

Diapers, bottles, blankets, and clothing for my soon-to-be adopted little baby girl.

Packing, paperwork.

Mom and I chuckled together as we loaded the cart with boxes and boxes of cigarettes (my brother insisted they’d come in handy as peace offerings), perfumes, and various other items.

As I walked around the baby department, my thoughts wandered back to the small photo I had been given of precious baby girl with big, brown, serious eyes.

Lord, she needs to smile.
She needs to know she is loved.
She needs to know about You.

Suddenly my eyes were drawn to a pink baby blanket on display.

I reached out and felt how incredibly soft it was and held it up for my mom to see.

We knew immediately that this was the blanket I would take with me to bring my little girl home.

And along with the blanket, I purchased a small Christmas ornament, Baby’s First Christmas.

I’ll never forget my excitement as we shopped that day.

The pink blanket was packed in my suitcase awaiting the special day,

and the ornament was hung on my tree in hope—

that one day soon, my baby girl would celebrate her first Christmas—at home.

Meet my friend and guest, the author of this beautiful story, Sharon Brani, and daughter, Noelle.

Sharon is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Virginia, a Board Certified Coach, an educator, published freelance writer, and speaker whose life is committed to helping people discover the way life is meant to be. She’s written over 300 articles, stories, and devotionals for a variety of inspirational publications, and has contributed stories to the Chicken Soup series.

Sharon is the mother of two amazing daughters whom she adopted from Russia. As a nurturer she is well equipped to coach parents at every stage of the adoption process.

Here is a link to Sharon’s website, Discover Life, her blog, Shining Moments, and a link to her brand new book,

The Unforgettable Christmas Journey. Sharon Brani's Book The Unforgettable Christmas Journey

Congratulations, Sharon, and thank you, it is a joy to have you share part of your wondrous Christmas Journey with us.

And here’s one more photo of Sharon and (check out that beautiful smile!) Noelle.

“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).

“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 36:7).

We’re all on this path of life together. Our prayer is that the Lord will blanket you with the beauty of His peace and fill you with His joy this Christmas season.

Where do you hope your journey will take you this in this new year to come? Please share your comments with us.

Love and Merry Christmas!

Sally and Sharon

Timeless

December. Another year is fast sliding by us to take its place in the lived-in past of eternity.

God says the plans He has for us are carefully shaped to prosper us, give us hope and a future. I’m praying and looking and trusting Him for ideas, things to trigger memories, subjects to write about in 2015.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

As I browse through an online photo gallery, the above photo jumps out. I can’t get past it, so I stop, fascinated. Usually, I don’t care for rooms as busy as this one. But as my eyes roam over the rich and varied woods, a well-used leather loveseat, golden lighting that seems to spread mysteriously throughout the room from a single floor lamp, and dozens of books, I want to be there. After all, there are books. ☺

So maybe that’s what pulls me in. Or is it that I can almost smell the pungent scent of old paper, ink, and a little of the dust and mustiness from leather book covers? There are thick, heavy tomes, tall, slender books, textbooks, some old, some new, maybe a series of fiction or a set of encyclopedias. I’m guessing. I can’t really see the titles.

Something begins to bother me, but I can’t put my finger on what.

Where is this place? I look for a painting of an English fox hunting scene, but the two lovable dogs work just as well, and the room doesn’t really feel English anyway. A tea set sits ready, as if someone is about to enjoy a cup of hot tea with friends. I’m curious about why there’s one big empty square in the bookcase. Did the stack of books on the table come from there?

I want to curl up in the far corner of the couch and hear the leather creak beneath me. I want to tuck my feet up under me with a book in my lap and hold a cup of sugar-sweetened tea with cream between my palms. I want to revel in ambiance of the room, all the details of it.

But the sense of something not quite right persists.

I push it out of my mind and press in closer to study the photo, loving the shades of red everywhere, the dash of green in the blotter on the writing desk, the walls a soft, pastel blue or maybe green, I can’t quite tell. There are figurines, a globe, statuary and another lamp. Is this a library in someone’s mansion?

My imagination is no longer content to sit and gaze, I want to stop time and walk through this room, to examine everything in it. It speaks of someone’s life, the one who put this room together, its creator.

Things aren’t always what they seem.

I finally see what has been niggling at me. A couple of little white rectangles that don’t fit in, dangle from two lamps. Tags. I’d been drawn into an illusion and I have to smile. I dig deeper and learn that the photograph is of a shop in Madrid, not of a private library in someone’s mansion. Still, I’d like to go there! Of course, I’ve seen plenty of displays of furniture in stores and shops arranged as if in homes, but not quite like this one in a photo where sales tags are nearly invisible.

Clever photographer to capture a scene that captures me as well? Or clever shopkeeper to create such an atmosphere for sales? Maybe both?

Your turn to lean in. You can click on the photo to get a better view (and ‘back’ to return to the blog). Look carefully, and you’ll see there are tags on many items, even on a dog’s ear in the painting.

I’d love it if you’d leave your ideas and thoughts about this little illusion!

Things are not always what they seem. “‘Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?’ says the Lord; ‘Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ says the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:24 NKJV).

There are two things, maybe more, that come to mind as I write this blog.

First, If you’re waiting for something in your life, don’t give up. It may seem as if the Lord will never bring your heart’s desire to pass, but wait. Things are not always what they seem. We don’t have eyes to see or hearts to perceive everything that goes into how God answers our prayers. Our job is having faith, believing in Him, not in the request, not in ourselves, not in anything else but Him.

And then, there is the tempter, Satan, who roams this fallen world. In any guise he needs to use, he creates the illusion of something you must have or must do. He assures you that it’s all good until you are ensnared, trapped in sin so deep there seems no way out. But there is nothing too deep or impossible for God. God is greater than any sin. You are loved whether you feel lovable or not. There is hope. And that hope lies in God’s greatest gift to us, His only Son, Jesus. Believe in Him.     ♥     But I’m not here to preach, though I do want to point to the Way out of our troubles, trials, and temptations. So when things are in shades of black all around you, breathe His name. Jesus. That’s the beginning. Find a Bible and begin reading in the back half, in the Book of John. Listen. Watch. God will lead you to someone to talk to. and with.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV).
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 NKJV).

Love,

Sally