Category Archives: People

Mama’s Roses

Mama’s Roses
Mama had a keen touch when it came to nourishing flowers and plants. They all flourished beautifully at her hands. I never could copy her knack, and it certainly wasn’t an inherited trait.

So, when I inherited her prize winning pink lady rose bush, I had to pray for God to grow me a green thumb.

One morning, I pulled my gardening tools out of the shed and knelt in the dirt. I was going to have to create a special place for these roses. I had labored for days over the decision. Now, it was play time. I dug in the dirt as a five year old set on making mud pie. My hand shovel sunk into the dirt with a swoosh, and brought the earth to the surface, leaving a growing hole in which to deposit the rose bush. I felt the black dirt squish between my fingers. Leaning back onto my feet, I breathed in the fresh Texas air and allowed it to penetrate deep into my lungs. The breeze tousled my already messy hair. It sent goosebumps down my arms.

As I placed the roots into the dirt and covered them back up, I thought of Mama and the thousands of times I watched her do this very thing. When I was a kid playing in the yard, as a teenager always itching to get away, and as an adult hoping to be like her some day. I hoped I could create a happy, healthy home for my family as Mama had done for us. We might not have had much, but we had love and joy, food on the table every night, and fresh cut roses from Mama’s garden.

I could see her plush white hair floating and dancing in the wind as she took her shears to her prized blooms, carefully selecting the best to place on her table. The smell, oh the sweet smell of those roses. I realized why Mama took so much care, time, and effort in her garden. It was for us, yes. We certainly got to enjoy the fruits of her labor. But, this was actually kind of fun. Playing in the dirt, working with nature, feeling the sun and sky on my skin, this was therapeutic. It actually felt good to help and guide God’s creations.

I looked around my yard. It wasn’t the plush, flowery fantasy land my mama had, but it was a big, well manicured yard. We had managed to create a pretty and enjoyable space for our family to play and relax. I prayed Mama’s roses would take root and grow big and beautiful. I prayed the buds would come in so I could have some blooms for my table. The smell, oh the sweet smell of those roses.

Intent

Let’s take life one day at a time. Live intentionally. Be purposeful and prosperous. In relationships, your spiritual life, in your work and even in your free time. When you approach tasks, or even life in general, with intention, things get done. You take ownership and pride in what you do, and people will notice. Not that you should live for other people, but it is nice to get recognition and appreciation sometimes.

This morning, my daughter was telling me how she kept getting noticed the other day everywhere she went. A friend at school told her she looked fancy today. Friends at the theatre were telling her how pretty she looked and some others complimented her on her out fit and hair. It made her feel good, of course, didn’t fully understand why everyone noticed her that day. I explained to her that people take notice when you put forth a little more effort. She was well put together that day. She wore a blouse instead of a t-shirt, nice jeans and dressy pink shoes instead of tennis shoes or flip flops. She had taken the time to curl her hair and put on lipstick. She rarely wears makeup because she’s beautiful without it. But, the little bit of intentional effort to spruce up that day paid off.

People notice even the slightest difference. This is what I mean. No need for big or elaborate differences, but little purposeful actions can make a difference in our lives. The difference between plain and marvelous, the difference between safe and sorry, the difference between happily ever after and frustratingly dissatisfied. The difference between acceptance and rejection letters. You get the picture. Now, go live with intention!

Something Rotten!

Teenagers! Boy are they dramatic! I asked my teenage daughter to do a simple chore. One that wouldn’t take probably ten minutes and I got the full head roll eye roll. The eye roll where you see nothing but the whites of the eyes, full fledged eye roll. Then I hear the huff. My reply was, “I sure wish my life was as difficult as yours.”

How spoiled is my kid? How spoiled are most of them? And in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t cute and it isn’t pretty. My daughter is 17, going on 18 very soon and will be out of high school in three short months. She’s practically an adult and who likes a spoiled adult? Of course, she’s my daughter, but she doesn’t always act like that. She’s going to be a productive and successful adult, but this incident made me think about life and how spoiled we are sometimes when we approach God for things.

Do we throw temper tantrums? Do we ever wine and roll our eyes at God, even figuratively? Are we always grateful? Do we obey him and worship him without question? Are we judgmental towards others?

While we’re certainly encouraged by Scripture to make our requests known to the Father (Philippians 4:6), the highest calling on our lives is to love God with all of our hearts, souls, bodies and minds (Matthew 22:37). We can do both, but we are commanded to seek God first: to look to Him as our Ultimate. Our Portion.

Asaph wrote Psalm 73 with a lot on his mind. He was flustered about all the bad people around him. He wondered why God wasn’t smacking them around for being so wretched and was struggling to keep his eyes on his own life. Sound familiar?

Then his woes turned to worship as he entered into the sanctuary of God (v17). His heart began to untangle as he remembered God’s sovereignty. In Psalm 73:26, he finally landed in a good place. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

His Eyes Were Bright

Yesterday, I had the fortune to run into a 96 year old gentleman at Walmart. His eyes were bright, and his mind sharp.  It is always very inspiring to converse with the elderly, as they have so many stories to tell.  He was shopping all by himself and had even driven himself there. I found this extraordinary. Here was a man 4 years shy of a century and he’s still functioning as well (perhaps better) as most 50 or 60 year olds I know.

 

Image

 

He said he hopes to live to be 108. This struck me as odd, for it’s such a specific number. I wonder what significance 108 might have for this man. It could be a coincidence, of course, being just a number he picked out of a hat, but perhaps not. If this man was 96, then he was born in 1917 or 1918. My gracious the things he’s seen develop and what he’s experienced!  Besides the obvious inventions such as computers, airplanes, and cell phones in this man’s lifetime, the Band-Aid was invented and insulin.  It’s unbelievable the improvements made in photography, broadcasting, and radio since the 20th century began until the present, and thinking about watching it evolve from the beginning like this gentleman I met is mind-boggling.  Yes, of course television and self-winding watches have been invented since the first of the 20th century, but also frozen food and spiral bound notebooks.

Digging even deeper, I found that penicillin was just discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928 and bubble gum was first produced that same year.  The first canned beer was made in 1935, and come to find out that the ballpoint pen and strobe lights were invented in the same year in 1938.  Who knew?  I can’t imagine life myself before the microwave oven, which was just invented in 1946, or cake mix, which debuted in 1949.

The advancements in medicine also come to mind, as these develop rapidly.  From the discovery of penicillin and the first oral contraceptives (1954) to 4D sonograms, laser eye surgery, and so many different microscopic surgeries and procedures being done now.  Wow!

Visiting with this man was so inspiring, insightful, and helped me feel better about growing old.  He is an amazing testament to growing old gracefully. 

Keep Your Eyes Off the Mirror

What a gold mine!  A few weeks ago, I started posting a series about what I am learning about better relating to people.  Here, my series continues.  I hope you can gain some nuggets of insight, as I have done.

I can’t help myself!  If I pass by a mirror, I have to stop.  I have to check myself out.  I mean, a girls got to look good all the time, right?  Vain?  Yes, I am a bit…ok, a lot.  It’s one of my weaknesses.  I like to see myself.  Self absorbed?  I really fight not to be.  I want to be able to make others feel like a million bucks, so I work to make others a priority and keep my eyes off the mirror when I am not alone.  After all, I don’t always want to be alone.

If you focus on others, continually working to give them what they need, then you are able to keep your eyes off the mirror.  That’s a wonderful way to win with people.  Danny Thomas, the star of the hit 1950s-1960s TV show, Make Room for Daddy, said, “Success in life has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself.  It’s what you do for others.”  I have found that to be true for myself.  Life is about relationships.  A great way to build healthy relationships is by focusing on others.