Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

          It’s a fresh new year.  Undoubtedly, we’ll hear choruses of “Happy New Year!” ringing through grocery stores, offices and the health club we just joined to work on our recent resolutions.  While the wishes are heartfelt and sincere, we realize the prospect of having a happy year is a long shot for some because of our uncertain economy.  We often wish we could make everyone happy.
          What would truly bring us happiness?  Losing weight, finding a way to finance college tuition, or perhaps getting answers to prayer?  Receiving answers to prayer can reassure us that the God of the universe actually hears and loves us.  But do we ever consider that “no” is also a loving answer to prayer?
  A few years ago when my daughters were six and eight, we were dutifully sweeping out the garage.  My youngest, Faith*, noticed that her older sister was wearing a new bracelet.
  “Where did Caroline* get that?” she asked, glaring at me.
“I picked it up for her when I was shopping the other day.”
Screaming ensued, and you would have thought I was ordering Cinderella to sweep the chimney while her stepsister shopped for the prom.  I could have stopped the tantrum and tears by revealing that I had ordered something very special for her birthday the next month, but I didn’t want to ruin the surprise .  I bought Caroline’s simple bracelet the same day I ordered a beautiful, monogrammed bracelet for Faith.  In kindergarten, just learning to spell, Faith was enthralled by anything bearing her hard-to-find initial.
Faith stamped her Barbie sneaker, decreeing that it wasn’t fair.  However, I knew that waiting to let her open a beautiful, carefully chosen gift on her birthday would make her happier than giving it to her right then.  If she had only known.
Suddenly it hit me.  God spoke to me through a sobbing, snaggle-toothed little angel.  How many times have we thrown a tantrum about an opportunity, a lavish vacation or a special relationship someone else has that we don’t?  It’s just not fair.
My daughter didn’t know about the monogrammed bracelet that I had ordered to appeal to her heart alone.  If we only knew the custom-made blessings God is planning for us that eclipse our own imagination, then maybe we wouldn’t throw our 40-year-old tantrums.  Sometimes God’s “no” means “not yet.”  Perhaps He waits so that He can bless us more fully when the time is right.
So what would truly make us happy in the new year?  Probably kids who pick up their clothes, a small gesture of appreciation or simply time to do something we enjoy.  Those things may take a while in coming.  Maybe we should try to appreciate God’s loving “not yet’s” with their promise of increased blessings later on when we’re ready.  Like my six-year-old, we think we’re ready now, but we don’t know what’s around the corner.  Meanwhile, let’s look for the small miracles we see every day—after all, it’s just like God to open up that parking space.  It’s just like God to do something differently or let us fail.  And it’s just like God to suddenly turn a heart around.
Let’s look forward to a happy new year with anticipation and excitement about all God has planned for us.  But the kids picking up their clothes?  Don’t get crazy.
*Names have been changed

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Teenagers and Cats

Noticed in my house: Teenagers are like cats. They love to lie on a pile of clean laundry that's not folded. Cats are drawn to it. Kids ignore it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Enjoy LIfe!

Heard on the street:

"In your forties you try not to be obnoxious or annoying.  In your fifties you kind of enjoy it!

I like that one!  Agree?  Let me hear all the opinions of my friends in their fifties!!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Miracles occur all around us everyday.  Many times I’m awed by the way God moves in the world, making our lives fall into place.  We may have to exercise patience and wait for a very long time, but in the end God causes all things to work together for our good.  
Sometimes God performs amazing miracles for us by bringing a friend or spouse into our lives.  But he also works everyday miracles that many people call “coincidence” —just little things.  For example, the other day I dropped my car keys in the “black hole” in my car, as our family calls it.  That’s the area between the front seat and the middle console in my SUV.  And what do you know—I found a Visa bill that escaped me when I put my fistful of envelopes in the mailbox.  The payment was late, but thank goodness I found it in that black chasm in which no one bothers to look because it sucks up everything that falls in.  
Often I hesitate to ask God for frivolous concerns because I feel guilty when there are starving people in the world.  But sometimes when I’m desperate, I bow my head, fold my little hands,  and reverently ask God to help me find silver shoes to go with the dress I’m wearing to the Junior Cotillion tomorrow night.  That evening on the news I may see refugees fleeing their war-torn country, and I humbly pray for forgiveness for my shameless materialism. However, a friend opened my eyes today.  She said, “Maybe it’s true that God doesn’t care about your silver shoes—but He cares about YOU.”  
If I stay close to God, I become aware that His guiding hand is closer than I realize.  The other day the Creator of the universe helped me make it to the cleaners in five minutes during rush hour because I forgot to pick up a shirt my husband needed the next day.   Closing time was 6:00, and I was five minutes late, but guess what?  The teenager behind the counter who is usually in her Honda kissing her boyfriend at 5:55 was texting and kept the door open an extra five minutes.  
Look for the “coincidences” throughout your day, and thank God for the trivial things that just seem to work out.  Whether your difficulty is a divorce or waiting in the drive-thru, God meets us right where we are.  He has a thousand ways to open a thousand doors to create exactly the right path for us, however crooked it may be.  The Ruler of time and space can perform the inconsequential or the impossible.  After all, keeping a 16-year-old away from her boyfriend HAS to up there miracle-wise with healing the lepers.