Making 70

My dad made 70 today.  In New Orleans you don’t “turn” a certain age, like “turn 30.”  You MAKE your age each year.  Only Dad’s not here, he’s in Lakeland, Florida.  Still, for me, he makes 70.  I’ll see him soon, but on days like today I wake up with tears wishing I were helping cook his birthday dinner and make him a cake.

New Orleans is the wild, wild west compared to where I grew up.  You don’t find guys like my Dad here.  Sure there are lots of good ole boys, but it’s not the same.  I remember when I first moved here, going months on end without seeing a cow, or really a piece of open land big enough to handle a cow.  It was weird.

Kenzie and the cow

Mackenzie feeds Holstein

 

Dad isn’t really all that fond of the nearly 700 miles between us.  I’m not either.

Some days I wonder why I even bother.  If anyone knew how many times a day my heart cries to go home to Daddy and Mom, they’d wonder the same thing.  But I know the answer, really.  I bother because I really think God wants me here in this crazy, awesome, sideways place.  My mom took a picture of me at about 17, upset over something and crying in my Daddy’s arms.  I’m pretty sure God knows that if I were physically close enough, I’d never really move beyond that.  There’s no place safer or better, except the arms of God Himself.  I’m lucky to have had a Dad who introduced me to God and made an example of God’s unconditional love in a world where so many Fathers become an obstacle to a child’s understanding of God as a loving Father.  My Dad only enhanced that understanding for me.

Papa and Caleb

Papa and Caleb

My Dad, and Mom, taught me love.  They taught me work.  They taught me Jesus.  They taught me faith, a for-real, down-deep, affects every part of your life faith, not a measly one day a week, take-a-lick-at-a-snake excuse for religion.  And here… here in a place where there isn’t any room for cows, I’m bringing and sharing and living what they taught me.  I’m raising my kids their way.  I’m growing veggies in my fenced-in, subdivided yard.  My house has more than its share of mason jars and my van finds its way to the farmer’s market practically on its own.  I stand there among very cool, very green, hipster types and look for a flat of strawberries cheap enough to make jam.  I cock my head to the side at the things they grow, like kale, and wonder where are the “new potatoes” and “silver queen corn” and “zipper peas”?  My hands hold babies the way Dad and Mom did, and love old people the way they did.  They introduced me to hospitals and nursing homes and funerals through their ministry in those places and now I love old people for a living.  My eyes and my smile carry their physical traits, and communicate their philosophy of real faith and real love for people.

It occurs to me that I repeat this behavior on a fairly regular basis.  Trying to bring a little of the love I was brought up with to the place I’ve been transplanted.  Trying to say “See, Daddy?  Mom? See, Granny?  Papa?  I listened!  I watched!  I loved the things you made for me and taught me and did for me and now I’m doing them over and over again, copying you in another part of the world because the goodness of you needs to be taken to other places.”   It’s in my tomatoes, potatoes, strawberry jam, vegetable soup, various holiday casseroles, and so on.  It’s in my children and the way they are being raised.  It’s in my work and the way I love to see crinkly laugh lines and wrinkly eyes light up.

Dad, Caleb and Holstein

Daddy, Caleb, and Holstein

It’s you, Dad. (And Mama too!!!)  You gave me a lot of good stuff to bring beyond the 20 acres where I learned it all.  I’m living the faith you taught me.  I’m adding your flair to my everyday life.  I’m following the God you introduced me to, with all of my heart.  I keep Jeffries in my name because it’s a reminder of who I am, and who I’m teaching my children to be.

You’ve made a lot more than 70, Daddy!  Hope you have a happy birthday!!

Mom and Dad's 50th

Mom and Dad's 50th Anniversary

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

Control Freak

Hello, my name is Rebecca and…

I’m a control freak.

Yep.  Don’t judge.  You probably are too.

Oooo ya’ll, I love me some control.  I don’t even mind being at fault for a problem… just so I get to call the shots.  Here’s the thing with that:  You can’t really control things like hurricanes, divorces, failing health, car accidents… oh yeah and OTHER PEOPLE.  You can’t control other people.  This includes, but is not limited to, husbands and children.

Summer’s here, you know.  My annual pit of despair opens its mouth yet again as I anticipate sending my big kids to Florida for a few weeks.  Without me.  Outside my control.  Ugh.

Something’s different this year.  This year I’ve decided to avoid the P.O.D (pit of despair).  Not goin’ in.

God and I have had a few talks over the last few weeks.  Here’s something that caught my eye…

JOB 37

14 “Listen to this, Job;
stop and consider God’s wonders.
15 Do you know how God controls the clouds
and makes his lightning flash?
16 Do you know how the clouds hang poised,
those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?
17 You who swelter in your clothes
when the land lies hushed under the south wind,
18 can you join him in spreading out the skies,
hard as a mirror of cast bronze?

19 “Tell us what we should say to him;
we cannot draw up our case because of our darkness.
20 Should he be told that I want to speak?
Would anyone ask to be swallowed up?
21 Now no one can look at the sun,
bright as it is in the skies
after the wind has swept them clean.
22 Out of the north he comes in golden splendor;
God comes in awesome majesty.
23 The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power;
in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress.
24 Therefore, people revere him,
for does he not have regard for all the wise in heart?[b]”

You know what?  I’m not in control of what goes on with my babies when they are away.

Know what else?  God IS.

Truth be told, I waste a lot of time and emotional energy trying to control the uncontrollable.  Trying to make sure nothing bad happens.  Trying to shield and protect and oversee.  Trying to improve and revamp and adjust.

Yeah, God totally has it.

I think somewhere along the way I decided that my broken heart was evidence that God wasn’t quite able to handle my life.  So of course it would be better if I took over.  Right.

As evidenced by four miserable, depressing, sickening summers… that didn’t work.

This year, I’m leaving the control in God’s hands.  That’s actually a joke because it’s always been there.  Let me try again.  This year I’m not going to waste my time obsessing and worrying about what God controls.  He will be faithful to my children just like He has been to me.  I’m just going to love my kids, be grateful for my family and enjoy my life.

Hmmmm…..

Now what kind of freak will I be?

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

All Natural

Around our house we’ve got a little trend going. We’re keeping things natural. We haven’t really talked about this. It’s not a bandwagon we’re on or anything, we’ve just been enjoying a lot of natural, simple things…

Local produce from Hollygrove Market and Farm.

20130519-204239.jpg

Our weekly produce haul

Creole tomatoes growing in our yard.

20130519-204621.jpg

Little Baby Creole Tomatoes

Mint Juleps with mint we grew ourselves.

20130519-204742.jpg

My mint!

A new/old shelf from an onion crate found in the neighbor’s garbage.

20130519-205015.jpg

Our new/old crate/shelf!

A made from scratch Mother’s Day brunch at home.

20130519-204931.jpg

Mackenzie's Mother's Day Brunch

These days natural things are kind of rare. Natural foods, hair colors, clothing, body parts… they’re an oddity rather than the other way around.

20130519-204950.jpg

My natural lips plus a little unnatural lipstick!

Even things that say “natural” on the label usually aren’t really natural at all. I’ve been thinking how the same goes for our relationships, with God and with each other. Natural, honest, calm communication is rare. What we normally experience is flowery, fake, frantic and fraught with double meanings if not all-out untruths.

Being part of a house church provides a very natural, basic way of expressing my faith. I find myself more and more uncomfortable with manufactured spirituality. My own included. Have you ever heard someone pray aloud and wondered if they really talk to God that way in private? Heh. I’ve wondered that about myself. There comes a point when the “pre-packaged” expressions of spiritual speech just don’t nourish anymore.  Just like a wrapped granola bar can’t compete with a warm homemade oatmeal cookie, the boxed and labeled premixed prayers and conversations cease to satisfy a craving for true, authentic interaction with the Father God and His other children.

I’m not talking about prayers like The Lord’s Prayer here.  I’m speaking of those expressions, fillers, things we say just because it’s expected or because we don’t know what else to say.  I have a few pet peeves like using “Amen?” to ask for agreement or understanding, the “unspoken” prayer request, or asking an omnipresent God to “be with” us.  You know the type of thing.  Could be a figure of speech or just saying fluffy stuff in prayer or conversation with another person rather than getting to the real, natural expression of actual thought and concept.  I’ll be first to admit that sometimes I’ve said nothing in prayer because other than platitudes, I had nothing to say.  Yeah, God wasn’t surprised.  I find my “out-loud” prayers with my family and my church family are sometimes stilted and awkward as I struggle to keep it natural rather than resorting to something prepackaged or formulated.

I’d like to see my life, in prayer and conversation, filled with less prepackaged things like “Fine, how are you?” and more home-grown stuff like “I don’t tell you enough, but I love you.” or “You know I really respect you, admire you, or even disagree with you.”  I’d like to stick to natural words and concepts that are real rather than convenient but empty words that fill time but don’t really accomplish any communication.  And ya’ll can hold me to it.

20130519-204856.jpg

Mint Julep with homegrown mint.

Here’s to natural!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

Us

Just had our fourth wedding anniversary. We had a lil’ weekend getaway.

20130429-232914.jpg

There was this.

20130429-232932.jpg And this.

Oh… and this (yes, I did!)20130429-233014.jpg

 

Our getaway involved several hours alone to just reconnect. We’ve had lots of “you and me” but building an “us” has been a bit more challenging. Sometimes it seems our four years have flown by.  Sometimes it seems an eternity since we’ve struggled through so many things.

We’re still working on it, but it was really good to be reminded that there is more to us than pee-peeing on the potty, driver’s ed, 4th grade homework, and eating your vegetables.  We’re more than what we fight about, more than our perpetually empty checking account and perpetually packed to-do lists.

To keep it real, ya’ll, we’ve sometimes acted as if neither of us learned a darn thing from our first failures.  We’ve approached this marriage like two dummies expecting to “stick in a thumb and pull out a plum” as my daddy would say.  Oh, we knew second marriages are difficult, but OURS would be different, right?  Right.  Keep on dreamin’, honey.

Four years and about four MILLION “discussions” later, we are learning how to stop collecting retribution for past hurts from each other, though we had nothing to do with each others’ pasts.  We are learning (who, me?) how to leave well-enough alone, how to give each other some space for grace.  We’ve finally begun to quit trying to force our individual ways of doing things on one another and instead we’re starting to  figure out our COLLECTIVE way of doing things.  I think we’re about to get on the same team here, people!

We ain’t perfect, yall.  But things are lookin’ bright.

And Honey, if you read this sometime… I had the best weekend with you.  Happy Anniversary!

 

20130429-233041.jpg

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

The Easter I Couldn’t Plan

Oh law, did WE have us a wonderful Easter or what?

We did!

Growing up I have a lot of special Easter memories. Many of them involving an Easter dress WITH a bonnet or a hat. Mmmm hmmm. Many memories also involve a musical of some kind, or a passion play.

20130401-223824.jpgThis year, however, we made some different memories with our family. On Saturday night we attended a Messianic Passover Seder with our Origins family. I had so much fun hearing again the story of Passover and drawing the parallels to Jesus, our Lamb of God.


 

 

 

 

Easter morning,while my darling picked up our 60 pound crawfish order from the seafood merchant, I made Hot Cross Buns! (Click on the phrase to see my inspiration) Please tell me I’m not the only person who played the song in first grade piano lessons and on the recorder in third grade and never knew it was about buns with crosses on top. Please.

20130401-224053.jpg

Anyway, they’re evidently somewhat of an Easter tradition. Perhaps not a southern one which would explain why I had no idea. But when Joy the Baker put a post up about Cross buns I knew I had my Easter morning breakfast plan. I do love Joy the Baker. I love anyone who knows the value of a carb as much as I. A sister in all things sweet, she is. Anyway, since I’m nowhere near as awesome as Joy the Baker, my crew got whop cinnamon rolls (you know, the kind where you WHOP the can on the counter to pop it open) with icing crosses.

It’s the thought that counts, yeah?

And since we had a big group of 15 for house church (Easter crowds everywhere, ya know!) it also took a dozen biscuits, NOT whop biscuits thankyaverymuch, and a breakfast casserole with enough cheese to bind us all together if you know what I mean, to feed everybody. Oh, and two pots of coffee. Don’t tell, but I love the feeding everybody part the best about house church. Give me Jesus, a table full of biscuits and butter, a hot pot of coffee, a bunch of people, and it is on like pecan my friends.

As a matter of fact, Janet’s dad was telling God when he closed us in prayer how he had loved sharing house church with us, it had seemed a little like what we’ll all do in heaven… sitting together enjoying each other and talking over all He has done. I hadn’t exactly thought of it that way before, but it’s true. A little bit of heaven is practiced in my home every week. I’m loving it.

And as if that weren’t enough, the coffee hadn’t even cooled before people started arriving for phase two of Easter festivities: the crawfish boil.

20130401-224017.jpg

Ya’ll, there were kids everywhere, family, friends, faces to love all OVER the place.20130401-224312.jpg We killed a BUNCH of crawfish, hunted eggs, laughed and talked.

 

 

 

 

 

It was incredible. And I don’t even eat crawfish.

 

 

But people I love DO.20130401-224127.jpg20130401-224143.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just as everything was winding down, everybody dragging their happy, crawfish-stuffed selves to their cars and heading home, it started to rain. It was a lovely, soft rain just perfect for a visit with one of my favorite people who happened to wander over from down the street. God blessed me with some relatively quiet moments to chat, eat Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, and enjoy the company of yet another person I love.

After the rain, Janet and Ray’s electricity went out so they came back and piled on our couches and we ended the day watching the Bible on TV and drinking another pot of coffee.

I’m sure I could have never planned a more perfect Easter weekend. Good thing I didn’t really plan it. I mean, we knew we’d attend the Seder, we ordered the crawfish ahead, I schemed over the cross buns and all that stuff. But those weren’t the things that made the weekend perfect. It was the love of friends and family, the love of God, all blended up together to make a level of exquisite-ness not able to be conjured up through human effort.  What better way to celebrate a miraculous, resurrected Jesus?  I can think of none.

20130401-223954.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

Unforced Rhythms of Grace

 

This came from a great blog I follow, Margaret Feinberg. I really like Margaret’s books. Check her out sometime.

Anyway, this scripture was taken from The Message paraphrase. The phrase “unforced rhythms of grace” keeps echoing in my mind. I’ve been learning a bit about those unforced rhythms over the past few years. When I took piano lessons as a kid, I had this old thing called a metronome. It FORCED me to keep a certain time, meaning any rhythm I played had to obey that particular speed. I didn’t enjoy that thing. You wouldn’t know it, though, by the way I lived for a long time. I lived by some very forced rhythms.

Get all A’s. Do everything right. Make sure you live up to expectations. Never let ’em see you sweat.

I have to be honest, I’m so used to marching to a very strict beat, that unforced rhythms aren’t too comfy for me. Or weren’t. Now I’m learning to bask in them. Enjoy them. I’m liking what happens when I stop trying so hard and leave it to God for real.

Sunday morning was house church, of course. We’re on four years of house church now. That means we’ve been meeting since I was pregnant with Caleb. That means Caleb’s ALWAYS been a house church kid. Can I tell you a secret? I’ve been SO scared that somehow my littlest love would know less about God or love Him less than my big darlings. They WERE ministry kids, after all. They went to the Sunday Schools and VBSes and Summer Camps and all that stuff. They got rocked in the church nursery by ladies that love Jesus and came home with lipstick marks on their cheeks and clothes that reeked of grandma perfume. How would Caleb EVER begin to match their God-stuff pedigree? Back to Sunday morning.

We sat in the living room finishing up house church and were closing with prayer. Caleb came to my lap and sat there quietly while Janet prayed. He whispered to me “I want to pray.” I said “Ok, Mrs. Janet is talking to God now and then you can pray.” “No,” he said “All of us pray.” I finally caught on that he meant he wanted us to say The Lord’s Prayer together, as is our tradition every week. Janet finished and another person chimed in his prayer, then I let everyone know Caleb wanted us to pray the Lord’s Prayer. As we did, my baby boy prayed along with us, keeping up with the words, and finishing up with a loud AMEN!

In a very quiet way, I realized that our unforced rhythm is being used by God to work His grace in all our lives. He doesn’t need my metronome to tell Him how to show Himself to me or my children. As I’ve been trying to keep my eyes on Him, follow as best I know how with brothers and sisters and babies He’s given to me, He has still caught the heart of my boy. And this Sunday, my babies worshipped alongside their dad and me, another dad and his kids, a single guy, and another couple who have become as close as family. They had someone to play in the yard with them, hug them, affirm them, and little Caleb had his choice of laps to occupy and arms waiting to wrap around him. God’s family played out right in our living room as it does week after week. Simply loving Jesus is catching, my friends! Perhaps it’s those unforced rhythms of grace that capture our hearts anyway, no matter where or how we engage with the church. It’s Jesus Himself that becomes so wonderful, so irresistible, so all-sufficient.  It’s been Him all along.

20130326-220327.jpg

My church “metronome” went out the window a few years ago, and I won’t lie, it ain’t easy to let go of all my church-ey labels and security blankets.  Sunday mornings look like this instead of a pew-filled sanctuary.   I’m learning to simply love God, follow Him sincerely, love His word, and walk humbly with the people He places along the same path. I’ve pried my fingers time and again off of the old confidences I held because of my Christian pedigree and I’m learning to look to God as Conductor. These unforced rhythms are making for a lovelier sound than I ever thought possible.

 

 

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

Jesus’ Stepdaddy

Chef: “I bet you don’t even know who St. Joseph is!” Me: “Oh yes, I do! He’s Jesus’ Stepdaddy!!!”

An excerpt from an actual conversation that took place between my husband and me around St. Joseph Day about 5 years ago. Ummm… yeah. That was before we were, ya know, liking each other and stuff.

Today was St. Joseph Day and our annual St. Joseph altar was held at St. Francis Villa. 20130319-234622.jpgIf you’ve never experienced a St. Joseph Altar, then mark your calendar for next year and live a little, would ya? But take my advice, don’t just go and be a visitor to an altar. You gotta get BEHIND THE SCENES, stay all day, and really see what it’s all about. Italian food, Italian mothers, Italian traditions, and regular old garden variety love and laughter. Oh, and cookies. It’s very much about cookies.

.20130319-234707.jpg

I have to tell you that first altar we did together was rough. I wasn’t too sure about anything Catholic or Italian and he wasn’t too sure about a Baptist girl running a time honored Catholic Italian tradition. We laugh about this now, and looking back, we know that our work together on that project was the beginning of our friendship, however rocky it may have been. Our friendship blossomed, needless to say. There may or may not have been a stolen lemon involved, as St. Joseph altar legend advises.

20130319-234735.jpg

Anyway, the altar has become a treasured tradition for me, not just for the joy it brings to our residents and the fun and friendship that happens on that day, but for me it’s a reminder. Another reason to celebrate Jesus. A reason to think about how He was a real kid, and went through real stuff…like having a step dad. You know, the scripture gives us a major clue about Joseph when it tells us he planned to divorce Mary quietly once he discovered she was with child. He had other, much more vicious and vindictive options. He could have made her pay for the humiliation she brought to him. With her life. But nah… he planned to go quietly on, refusing himself the satisfaction of vengeance. It takes a pretty awesome guy, ego TOTALLY in check, to make that kind of decision and let something like that go. Of course when the angel appeared to Joseph and clued him in on the plan, he was on board with God. He then allowed his life to be overtaken by that Boy, moving himself and Mary to Egypt to protect Jesus. How many guys would do something like that for a child they didn’t father?

It always strikes me when I hear the altar blessings on St. Joseph day, how they refer to Joseph as a protector of children. I’ve known the story of Jesus’ birth for as long as I can remember, but I haven’t often stopped to consider the way Joseph protected the child Jesus. What an example to dads everywhere, stepdads especially.

20130319-234646.jpg

I still don’t claim to be any kind of expert on Catholic or Italian things. I’m just glad to be part of a day of such fun, such love, such generosity… and glad to be reminded of the man who was Jesus’ Stepdaddy.

And one last little shot of a resident lovin’ on my baby.  Too cute to resist!!

20130319-234811.jpg

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

Goodbye, Old Friend

A sad goodbye was said today. My old buddy, the Melitta Mill and Brew Coffee Maker bit the dust.

I have no memory of where I got this coffeemaker, but I’ve loved it. I think he came along in the aftermath of Katrina.  I don’t remember buying him, but don’t remember having him before the storm.  Wierd, I know.  Anyway, it grinds and brews. It’s programmable, so it has greeted me with hot coffee many mornings. Ol’ Mill and Brew had one drawback. He was a lil’ complicated…needed somebody who knew just which buttons to push, just how to make him work. So I was saddened to discover that someone worked Mill without that special touch. A tiny little tab that held the top closed during brewing and grinding was snapped off.

20130317-215911.jpg

See it there in my hand? The tiniest little piece broken off and the whole pot gone to…. well… gone to pot!

There are a lot of lessons in this. I stared at that tiny broken piece and God reminded me that sometimes the most insignificant seeming piece can be the difference between working and not working. I’m reminded that God values me, even when I feel like the tiniest piece of forgotten black plastic. He values the little ones in my home and expects me to do the same. He values the small details like smiling while I help my husband and holding back a remark about what I’d rather be doing. He values the itty bitty details like remembering a name, taking time to notice when someone’s had a bad day, and looking my kids in the eye. Little things, my friends. They DO make a big difference.

Sometimes I get frustrated because I can’t pull off the big stuff. It was nice to be reminded that it’s the little stuff that often makes the biggest difference.

 

20130317-215927.jpg

These are the new guys!  I couldn’t afford another Mill and Brew (those things are EXPENSIVE, makes it even more puzzling that I don’t recall paying that much for a coffee maker…still no clue where I got it…but I have a feeling some kind soul gave him to me.  Thank you, whoever you are!) so I got a Wal-mart special and a cheap-o grinder.  I think I’ll call them Sylvester and Tweety!

In other news, have ya’ll seen YouVersion?  No clue how I’ve survived this long without this app.  It even reads OUT LOUD to me!  I can set it on my daily reading and it reads scripture to me while I’m getting dressed, doing makeup, whatever.  I’m into this, ya’ll.

Also, MY BABY DROVE for the first time!  I know.  It’s crazy!!  I’m so proud of her.  She did great!  Driver’s Ed class and permit, here we come.  He’p me, Jesus!

20130317-223445.jpg

Also here’s a couple shots of last Thursday evening with the Jeffries-Hyman family.  We bake, yall!

20130317-223244.jpg

Mackenzie’s rosary bread for the St. Joseph Altar.

20130317-223146.jpg The whole gang workin’ away!!

Man, my life is full of good things!  Love!!!

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

Jam

Jesus told a story about a farmer. Check it out here. This weekend our little church group studied this parable and the whole weekend seemed to carry a theme of sowing and reaping, planting and growing. The Parable of the Sower always reminds me of my Dad, my Papa, and home. I have vivid pictures of my faithful dad planting his garden every year, the joy found in the process, and the harvest at the end. It’s a precious story, so close to my heart.

In an attempt to do a better job of putting healthy food on our table, and to teach our babies that food really comes from God’s earth and not a brightly colored box, we’ve been frequenting Hollygrove Farmer’s Market. I love the idea of supporting local farmers and eating fresh food. After our Sunday morning spent with the Sower, what better to do than head out to the farm and market? I couldn’t resist this picture of the inner city bunnies!20130313-003054.jpg (Bunnies to left behind the kids)  It inspires me to see an oasis of a garden in the middle of our crazy city.

20130313-003216.jpg

Anyway, with the market’s bounty, and thanks to a Winn Dixie buy one, get one free sale on Plant City strawberries, I made jam. 20130313-002918.jpg

Few things, my friend, are more comforting and confidence-boosting than making your own jam. I put on an apron and for a while behave like the women of my roots, the heroes of my faith and heart. When I was a kid, there used to be a song “God Loves to Talk to Boys While They’re Fishin’.” I think there should be one about how God loves to talk to moms while they make jam.

God and I talked about how I want to be the “good soil” Jesus spoke of in the above mentioned parable. The soil that produces fruit. Too often I’m the thorny kind, or even the hard, stony kind that won’t accept a seed at all. I want to produce fruit, to grow in my faith. But sometimes the process doesn’t stop with a gorgeous, fresh, red berry. Of course, there’s something to be said for ripe, plump fruit. But then there’s the further process of making the jam. The washing, the cutting, the crushing, the heat. All these turn the fruit into something that can last. Something sweet and enjoyable that can be tasted long after the harvest has come and gone.

20130313-002943.jpg

Could it be that the Grower of All Things sees me, a plump lil’ berry in His hand and says “I’m gonna make some jam with you.”? Why do I fight and scream and worry and fret over the difficulties in my life, when all along, He could be making jam? Is He really using all my craziness to make me sweeter and longer-lasting? Lord, I hope so. Some days I wonder why he’d bother for a second with me, but even in my wildest moments my heart cannot escape Him.

Oh ya’ll. I do wanna be sweet. I do want to last.

Me & Jesus… we makin’ jam.

20130313-003200.jpg

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather

Serious Business

Guess what?  Around 9 on Saturday morning, an airplane will land at the New Orleans airport.  On that plane will be someone who has been my friend since around the age of 13 or so.  We’ve had weddings within days of each other,  had babies within months of each other, (here’s a pic of those babies about a year ago) we got our first tattoos together.  This lil ol blog even started with her as coauthor! (Check out a couple of blasts from the past about the last time we got away together.  Here’s one by me, one by Christy.)

Yep!  Christy’s comin’ to New Orleans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Her first time here!

Whaaaaat????

And, as a gift for my birthday, my hubby has given me two, count ’em, TWO nights and days with which to do whatever we please!  Don’t hate!  I know I’m a lucky lady, but I also need this BAYUD!!! (that’s southern for BAD)

We are going to paint this town some sort of swirly-type tie dye inspired something.  Forget plain ol’ red.  The owner of the little B&B where we’ll be staying asked if I was a writer.  She read my email address and assumed I was.  She is, too!  She told me she thought I’d find the house and it’s art collection inspiring.  I keep thinking on her words.  It’s been, what? Seven years since our last weekend getaway?  I’m STILL going on some of the inspiration from that weekend, but it’s WAY past time for a booster shot.  Inspiring, indeed!  We shall laugh and cry and whisper and shout. We’ll have a few firsts and laugh at our lasts. We’ll do a few crazy things, but not too-much-whiskey-actin’-stupid kind of crazy.  Just free to be ourselves without worrying about a darn thing crazy.  But if you see us and need to look away, go right ahead.

Let this be a warning to all:  For about three delicious days, these two plate spinners shall not spin.  Not. one. plate.  Prepare accordingly.  We shall return to our regular scheduled programming soon enough, and we promise the world will continue its orbit while we’re gone.   This ain’t your ordinary paint-your-nails, shop-til-you-drop kind of girls getaway.  This is two people who’ve known each other too long and love each other too much to settle for mediocrity and surface scratching.  Depths will be explored, true feelings expressed, solutions brainstormed, goals set, and complacency challenged.  God will change our lives.  Again.  He always shows up when we’re together.  I think He likes hanging out with us! This is serious business.  The business of being friends, of walking the lovely flower-laden paths and navigating the stinky, muddy, sewers of life.  This ain’t no joke.  It’s going to be AMAZING!!!!

Pictures and profundity to follow.

 

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailby feather