3.09.2013

Every moment is an offering


We all have those moments when we really, really wish we were doing something else, but instead, must be responsible and do the thing we don't enjoy as much.  Responsibility isn't always pleasant, right?  I mean, which would you rather do - homework or run to the local ice cream shoppe with a group of besties?

It's easy to grumble and complain about doing things that aren't as much 'fun' as what you would prefer to be doing.  But in instances when you find yourself whining, take a moment to refocus.  Pray to be faithful and trustworthy.  Embrace what you have been given to do and do it cheerfully.  Every moment of your day is an offering to the LORD.  Are you showing others that you love Him by loving them?  When your attitude is smudged with anger, jealousy, stubbornness or disappointment, you're making the moment all about YOU and not about HIM.  You're ignoring your purpose each time this happens and ruining the plans God has for you to learn, discover and honor that moment.

Don't let your negativeness ruin your joyful spirit.  Be patient when obstacles come your way, or when people decide to cause problems during your day.  Pray for self-control.  Pray that God will remind you that every moment you are living is an offering, a moment to serve Him, not yourself.

...

'A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.'
- Proverbs 17:22

...

3.08.2013

"Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated."


Have you ever felt that deep longing to see someone?

That gnawing feeling of missing someone you care for so much and if that gnawing continues, you wonder if you'll survive another day...?

'Patience is a virtue' so they say.  A virtue is a quality, something considered 'morally good' or 'desirable' in a person.

So the question is not how much you're willing to sacrifice to see this someone you miss.
The question is:
Would you give up having a virtue of a lifetime to have a glimpse of the person you love?

3.07.2013

The last person he looks at


   I smile as my friends’ laughter reached my ears.  Doing chores or making meals was never not fun when I could at least hear people talking and laughing.  This moment was no exception.  I finish putting the chicken in the oven, then turn to make the salad.  
   While waiting for the meat to finish baking, I scoot closer to the high counter everyone was leaning against, looking at pictures and videos that the oldest son of the family was showing them.
   “Here, let me move over a little.”
   “Oh thanks,” I say, giving the tall, light brown haired boy a quick smile.  Even now, though, my shoulder was gently touching his.  
   Big deal, my brain whispers to me.
   I clear my throat, trying to push the thoughts away.  Since yesterday, visiting this family and having this certain friend over too, I couldn’t seem to stop thinking about him.  The way he made sure I had a blanket when I commented about being chilled while watching ‘The Dark Knight Rises’.  The way he asked how my Mama was feeling.  The way he whispered to me during the movie even after everyone else said ‘no commentary’.  The way he asked to take a picture with me on the group’s walk on the beach.  Small things like that had made him distracting to me.  But any further notions were ridiculous, so I just prayed that these random crazy thoughts would just stop already.
   Dinner was soon ready.  I wondered if he would sit next to me, but, with a small pang of sadness, I notice he sits in the chair two spaces down from me.
   “Can we make cookies after dinner?” little Lucy asks me.
   “Oh sure!  Chocolate chip?”
   She nods eagerly.  I smile.
   Finishing dinner quickly (though I had second servings of chicken...), I clean the kitchen a little and then set to making cookies with Lucy.  While I had been making dinner, the rest of the teenagers had been sitting at the counter, but now, they all migrate to the back schoolroom, their voices and laughter out of reach to my ears.
   I can still have fun baking with a nine year old, I reprimand myself.  You don’t need your peers nearby.
   Or him.
   “Need any help?”
   I look up, slightly startled by his voice.  A voice that had randomly become a favorite over the last couple days.  It had such a deep, soothing tone.  “Oh hi.  Uh, no, I think we’re fine.”
   “This butter is hard,” Lucy says, as she makes a face trying to smash the butter and mix it with the brown sugar.
   “Here, I can help,” he says, moving around the counter and coming to stand next to me.
   “Where’s everyone else?” I asked, even though I knew the answer already.
   “They’re watching some videos, I think.”
   “You can go be with them.  Lucy and I can do this...really.”  I add the last word as he makes a move to mix the cookie dough.
   “We have a hand mixer,” Lucy pipes up.  “But I think one of the twister things is broken.”
   “Twister things?” I smiled at her.  “Let me see it.” 
   She jumps down from her perch on a tall stool and goes to find the hand mixer.  Bringing it back promptly, with both ‘twister things’ in hand, she hands it to him to figure out how to make it work.
   “I don’t think this’ll be usable with just one, uh, twister thing.” He smiles at Lucy.
   “We can just use a fork,” I suggest, getting one out of the drawer.
   “Well I can try the hand mixer with just one.”  He proceeds to plug it in and then stands behind me, one of his arms around my right shoulder.  I didn’t realize what he was going to do until he turned it on the low setting.
   I quickly stepped away from the counter with a small gasp.  “What are you doing?  Using me as a shield?”
   “Yup, from the cookie dough.” He laughs.
   I smile.  “Whatever.  Here just use the fork.”  I hold it out to him.  
   Lucy is still giggling.
   Through a series of mixing, smashing and pounding the ingredients together (the unsoftened butter wasn’t helping much), we finally get a presentable looking amount of cookie dough ready to be placed on baking sheets.  Laughter wasn’t made scarce in the small kitchen.  Every time he laughed, I laughed.  Whenever he smiled, I couldn’t keep a smile off my face either.
   “Okay, here, everyone can have a little bit of dough,” I say as I pinch some off and distribute it to him, Lucy, and another boy from the family who had decided to ‘help’ with the cooking making.
   “I like cookie dough more than the actual baked cookies,” he says.
   “Me too!  I’d eat the whole bowl instead of baking all of it.”
   He nods, a mischievous grin on his face.
   “No,” I say, reading his mind.  “Sorry, but we’re baking these.”
   “Well, I have to get going actually, so you all enjoy the baked cookies without me.”
   He leaves the kitchen to go get his coat and a little part of me feels that twinge of sadness again.  I was going home tomorrow, so this was the last time I’d be seeing him for...at least, another couple months.
   I try to get my mind off of that fact by busying myself with getting the cookie dough ready on the baking sheets.  He comes back to the kitchen, after saying goodbye to everyone else.
   “Goodbye,” he tells me, and I move closer to give him a hug.  He smells good.
   “ ‘Bye,” I say.  “Drive safe.”
   “Okay, thanks,” he smiles as he walks to the door.  “It was good seeing you again.”  
   “Yeah, same here,” I nod, then turn away, pretending to be cleaning whatever I could find.  I didn’t want to see him leave.
   Some more family members had drifted into the kitchen and living room area and I listen to their conversation as I clean the cookie mess.  A few seconds later, there’s a knock on the door.  He pokes his head in.
   “What’s up?” someone asks him.
   “I forgot something - in the back room, I think.”
   I give him a small insignificant smile as he walks by.  He returns a second later, with nothing in his hand I see. 
   “What’d you forget?” I ask.
   “Oh I guess I didn’t!” he smiles, opening the door.
   This time my eyes didn’t leave his face.
   “ ‘Bye,” he says, closing the door slowly.

   I was the last person he looks at.