Ordinary Things

 

 

Photography by Donna Harris ❘ Remember the Year

I’m remembering a wonderful weekend in Charleston, SC, one of the loveliest cities I’ve visited. I was enthralled by the pristine architecture of steeples reaching toward heaven and of course the wrought iron sculptures, which are truly works of art that grace the simplest to the grandest of homes. After driving on the Cooper River Bridge, I wanted to lace up my running shoes and experience the elegant symmetry of that engineering masterpiece up close.

But it’s the ordinary things that I remember the most. A hot and humid stroll through an old cemetery, reading stories of lives passed… etched on concrete monuments and then happen to spy a few sparrows cooling their feathers with a splash of water from a concrete bird bath.

Dodging people in the Straw Market just to get a closer look at overpriced stuff and then notice an elderly lady sitting in a shady corner where a cool breeze is felt, her hands moving swiftly, gathering straw to weave the next basket. I think she has been sitting in that chair for a long time, everyday weaving her baskets. She looked weary, yet driven to finish that basket. When she finishes weaving the basket, it will be tossed in the pile of more baskets.

I remember the joy of chatting with friends while casually touring the city streets. Waiting (somewhat) patiently while she searched for the perfect water-color painting to grace her home, or the oldest tin ceiling tile that communicated the most character and then celebrating the find together. Watching her take pictures of a lamppost or an old window shutter and thankful for her inspiration. Laughing so much that it brought tears to our eyes.

It’s the ordinary things that God used to communicate His presence–He cares for the sparrow and He knows the needs of the weary basket weaver. He will love me no matter what and gives me friends that remind me of that.

 Five Minute Friday
Linking up with everyone for Five Minute Fridaywhere a remarkably encouraging and loving  community gathers to write for five minutes. This week’s prompt is: ORDINARY.

Our Family Reunion

family reunion

A few of my silly relatives

This week has flown by much too fast. I wish we had more time…my husband and I planned a long weekend with our children and grandchildren. There is nothing better than playing with our granddaughters! In addition, we arranged a reunion with some of our extended families…on my husband’s side and mine (a day for his and a day for mine). My bright idea for the reunion was to have our family history present with a visual showcase of memories.

My bright idea began with sorting through hundreds and hundreds of photos from nearly 35 years of printed pictures. I never took the time to organize our photos in “sweet” crafty scrapbooks or in a systematic file box with photos labeled and categorized per year, child or event. But I did have lots of blank envelopes containing photos in no particular order, plus bundles of photos with an old rubber band binding the memory together, only to disintegrate when it was removed.  All of the photos had been neatly stashed in a very large plastic storage box.

I began opening each envelope and quickly realized that I was being sucked into a black hole of photo oblivion and there was no turning back. I was determined to see the clear bottom of the plastic box.

I spent hours, which turned into days…with the memories, smiles, laughter, cries and sorrow. Every photo told a story. Every photo holds a memory. I could hear the voices of friends and family and the laughter of our children. Visual reminders of loved ones that have passed and grateful for our heritage and their legacy. Every photo is a piece of our grand story designed by a loving God.  As my husband and I looked through the photos, we kept saying, “Thank you, God! We are blessed!”

My work paid off as the photos were a hit and an added comic relief looking at the styles of the mid 1970’s through the ’80’s. It was a lot of work to sort the photos and to plan the reunion, but so worth it! By now, everyone has returned to their homes and routines and we all agreed that we need to do this more often. I treasure these memories plus, I have more photos to add to my organized collection!

cuties

cuties

Morning Calm Arrives

Life and Light
Just a few moments to pray and prepare my heart for the busy morning that awaits. Praying that the Lord will speak into the hearts and young minds of children. I want to remind the children that they cannot make themselves love the words in God’s book. They can read and think about the Word of God and the way of wisdom but unless God gives them understanding, they will not see the goodness in the commands of God. They can fill their minds with God’s Word and His commands, but they cannot make their hearts love what is good and right.

Morning calm arrives with delight in God’s Word.

Lord, help me communicate that calmness. 

Psalm 19:7-11 
The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the [whole] person; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure and bright, enlightening the eyes.
The [reverent] fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even than much fine gold; they are sweeter also than honey and drippings from the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned (reminded, illuminated, and instructed); and in keeping them there is great reward.

Rescued from Resentful Bitterness

On my birthday, my Grandmother gave me a beautiful gold bracelet with a single charm displaying my initials, DMG. Back in the day of the 1970’s, a simple gold bracelet (no clasp, just a circle of gold)  with a single charm was the rage. Owning a bracelet like that gave status to the person wearing it, at least that was the perception. Only the most popular girls had a bracelet like this! I wasn’t popular. What is important to know is that I did not realize the significance of this bracelet. I never wore jewelry and didn’t ask for jewelry but my grandmother thought it was special for me to have it. The gold bracelet was an incredible gift and I loved it!

I felt so special and loved by my Grandmother each time I wore that bracelet, which was everyday.  Since I wasn’t popular and didn’t care about style (unless my Grandmother coached me) I had no idea that this bracelet would be a source of discontent for someone else. One day, while in the locker room getting ready for gym class, I carelessly turned my back to the belongings in my locker basket. I had taken off the bracelet and placed it inside the basket. When I turned around, the bracelet was gone. The thief was fast and disappeared quickly…but I knew who she was. I reported the crime to the school authorities, but since they couldn’t prove that my bracelet was stolen and not lost (the thief denied the crime) I was out of luck. Even more frustrating was to see her walking down the hall wearing my bracelet with my initials on the charm.

I was seething with resent and bitterness. I chewed on it. I began to savor the sour bitter taste. I choked on that bitter flavor but managed to swallow and digest this feeling with hope that I would take vengeance on that thief.  But the resentful bitterness ended up taking its vengeance in my soul instead. I was miserable and consumed with hate towards that girl.

The heart knows its own bitterness…Proverbs 14:10

A bitter and resentful person is like a contagious poison, spreading his resentment to others. 
(A paraphrase of Deuteronomy 29:18)

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God…Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.   Ephesians 4:30-32

The bracelet had become a golden idol while that thief was becoming more of a false god, vying for my attention. The only way I could be free from this angst was to surrender my bracelet…that golden idol to God. It was His. It was always His. I gave the bracelet to God numerous times and the more I gave it back, the softer my heart became towards the thief.  I began to pray for her each time I saw her at school and each time I missed the gold bracelet until I didn’t feel the resentful bitterness anymore. I actually had the strange kind of love and compassion for her. God was healing my heart and rescuing me from resentful bitterness and then–God showed me love. My grandmother gave me another gold bracelet, identical to the one now owned by a thief…that girl…needing to feel loved, needing to be rescued.
Years later, I continue to pray for that girl and hope she knows that God loves her and perhaps she has been rescued too. When my daughter was in college, I gave her my treasured bracelet and shared this story with her in hopes that it would be a reminder of God’s rescuing power in her life.  She wears it all the time!
the simple gold bracelet


Garage Sale: A Grocery Cart to the Rescue

 

Garage sales are not always fun, unless you can make lots of money. I helped my father with his garage sale last weekend. He had high expectations of selling all of the stuff and making lots of money.

First lesson, don’t have a garage sale and have high expectations of selling all of the stuff and making lots of money. When I opened the garage, I was very impressed with the organization of the vases, baskets and silk flowers. It was obvious that my Dad had spent a great deal of time organizing the items and pricing them slightly below what one could purchase them new at Walmart.

I’m sure it was difficult for my father to bring out the numerous vases, wicker baskets, and a garden of silk flowers. His beloved wife of nearly 60 years created amazing displays of fresh flowers, fruit baskets for gifts and lavish silk flower arrangements for their home. In case it was overlooked, one would always know when the seasons changed by the spring, summer, fall or winter silk flower arrangements Mom had in the house.

With the vase, basket and silk flower inventory, someone could have opened a florist shop and not have overhead expense from purchasing vases, baskets, and artificial flowers. Unfortunately, none of our shoppers wanted to open a florist shop.

Second Lesson: save the time and effort…take all vases, baskets and silk flowers to a thrift store. I think the garage sale venture was finally redeemed when I asked Dad about the grocery cart he had for sale, while hoping Mom did not “borrow” the cart and forget to return it.

He said to me, “Your mother wanted one, so we bought it.”

Whew! I was relieved to know that Mom was not a thief!

I told Dad that I could find a new home for that cart. I’ll use it Sunday morning for children’s ministry!

Up and down the halls we travel with crafts, snacks, water pitchers, curriculum, toy bins…making numerous trips because our arms can not manage to carry everything from room to room. (We are a “portable church” that meets in a high school.)

“How much do you want for the cart?” I asked.

Dad said, “If you can use it for children’s ministry, it’s my gift to the church!”

The grocery cart now has a new home and my father is content that the garage sale was not a total loss. And I’m proud to show off this cart and use it every week…especially since my Mom wrote her last name on the handle.  (She didn’t want anyone to think it was stolen!)

With fond memories of Barbara Ann Newman Goodroe

The Grocery Cart