Tag Archive | Psalms

Splitting Hairs

I knew I should have fixed it when I had the chance, but I didn’t and now I can’t fix it.  Oh, the shame, the embarrassment of my mistake! Had I known where it would lead I would have made sure to fix things right away.

It all started about two years ago.  One morning, while getting ready for church, there it was. It was only about an inch long, but it stuck up from the middle of my scalp like a beacon…my first white hair. At first, I was thrilled. “It’s a white hair and not a gray hair! I’m going to have beautiful white hair!” I thought excitedly.

Then reality hit. “It’s a white hair! I’m too young for this to happen! I’m only 40-something! No, no, no! This can’t be happening to me!” Without giving it much thought, I pulled open the medicine cabinet door, grabbed the tweezers, and with one quick tug the dreaded hair was gone.

“Phew! That was close!” I sighed and felt triumphant that I had stopped the progression of my hair turning white.

A couple of weeks later, “Whitey” was back. I knew my hair grew fast, but this was ridiculous! Once again, the tweezers quickly brought death to Whitey.

I was born with strawberry blonde hair. (Before the blonde jokes start, I have to remind you that I am more “strawberry” than blonde!) There were days growing up that my hair would look really red and days it would look very blonde. Hairdressers thought I dyed it and when I told them I never had, they made sure to tell me that women would “kill” to have my hair color. Well, they could have it! I was red-head enough that my uncle Glenn would call me “Red,” which I hated, and my dad would call me “Pumpkin head,” which I also hated. I often dreamed of being a brunette with naturally curly hair. Instead I had two toned hair that was straight as a board and as thick as three heads worth of hair.

Now you think it would be a blessing to have really thick hair. It’s not. It’s a curse! I couldn’t wear the “cool” banana clip combs that were popular in the 80’s. I broke five of them trying to get my hair in one before I gave up.  I had to wear super heavy coated rubber bands on my ponytails because the regular kind would break too easily. When I wore my hair up, we had to put so many hairpins in my bun that I felt like I was carrying three extra pounds on my head. Perms were a nightmare!! Because I like to keep my hair fairly long, one perm packet isn’t enough.  Usually, because of the thickness and the length, three perm packets were used, and getting the perm was an all day affair.

Now, here I am, a forty-something strawberry blonde who has never dyed her hair, hasn’t bothered with a perm for 13 years, and has faithfully trimmed dead ends, kept it conditioned and cleaned and how does my hair reward me? It starts to turn white! Ugh!

Well, back to my current dilemma.  About a week ago, I saw that Whitey had returned. I decided to let it go. Besides, it was only about an inch long. I should have known better! Whitey took that opportunity to invite his friends. “Snowball,” “Marshmallow,” and “Cool Whip” have made their appearance and I’m sure their friends are on their way.

Obviously, this is not me, but it is how I imagine my hair will soon look!

Obviously, this is not me, but it is how I imagine my hair will soon look!

Will I condemn them all to death? No. I’m beginning to eye the 50-something years (though I still have a couple of years till then). I may as well embrace my new additions and give them the same love and attention I have given their predecessors.  Besides, this is a sign of maturity, right?

Psalm 71:18 says, “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.” So, I guess I’ll embrace these old white hairs.  After all, I still have a lot of teaching to do with my daughter and my grandchildren in the future.   Just because I’m starting to look old doesn’t mean I have to act old either! And, I know that even though I’m growing older, God will still be with me wherever I go.

♥Miriam

Advertisements

Here We Go Again…A Terminal Case of Baby Envy Part II

So, pregnancy number 2 proved to be non-viable. I spent a lot of time angry and hurt, blaming myself, blaming David, blaming God. When we were given the “okay” to try again, my heart wasn’t in it. I was afraid. But, we wanted more children.

I had friends who struggled with infertility. I saw the envy in their eyes when they saw a baby. Though I had never gone through all the testing and treatments they had gone through, I was beginning to understand the emotions they experienced each time another friend announced they were expecting, every time a new baby was within reaching distance to be held.  Secondary infertility (infertility that occurs after having a child on your own) is just as devastating as primary fertility. Perhaps it might be even more damaging to your self-esteem. After all, you achieved pregnancy once without help and now there was something “wrong” with you and you couldn’t do it again.

We decided to forgo Clomid treatment after doing some research and learning that Clomid can be a factor in ectopic pregnancies. We didn’t want to risk that again. Back to temperature charting, etc. One day, I woke up and felt the familiar nausea that comes with pregnancy. But, I was too afraid to take a test. I would wait. That was around Thanksgiving of the same year we had the ectopic pregnancy. I miscarried about a week and half later during my office Christmas party. I was pretty sure I knew what happened. A pregnancy test the next morning confirmed a positive pregnancy. I shared this with Dr. Brown and blood work began. Within 2 weeks, we knew that yes, it had been a miscarriage. I got the confirmation from our midwife, Darlanna, at the office. It was almost Christmas. I couldn’t take it. Two lost pregnancies in a year. What was wrong with me. I knew it was time to ask for help and asked Darlanna if I could have an antidepressant. I couldn’t cope any more. The entire year had revolved around pregnancy and here we were, not pregnant again.

We decided to keep this miscarriage to ourselves. We had seen the devastation that my parents experienced during the ectopic trauma and couldn’t bear to put them through another “loss”. We bore the pain of this loss alone. That was the wrong thing to do. No one knew and had our family and best friends knew, it would have been much easier to bear.

Surely, we were to have more children. But when, how?

 

Katie was about 4 years old in this picture

Katie was about 4 years old in this picture

A friend offered a solution. “Why not adopt?” She knew what we were feeling (though she didn’t know at the time about the 2nd lost pregnancy.) She suffered from primary infertility and had adopted two children from another country. She gave us extensive details of their adoptions, cost and everything. It was not an option. It was more money than Dave and I could possibly come up with.

During this time, I had allowed myself to stray away from God. After all, why would he let me go through this heartbreak? He couldn’t possibly love me or I wouldn’t be going through all this. I found excuses not to attend church. I gave up my daily prayer time…after all, it seemed He wasn’t listening. I was hurt beyond words, beyond what any mortal man could possibly do to comfort me, and yet I allowed myself to forsake the one who could comfort and heal me.  I finally came to my senses and began searching the Word for some sort of comfort and peace.

Psalms 121 became my theme. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.  He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.  Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.   The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.   The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.  The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.” (KJV)

He was with me…I had just pushed Him away. I started to draw closer to Him and began to trust that if we were to have more children, He would allow it to happen.

We just needed to wait and see what God would do next.

(To be continued….)

♥Miriam

A Joyful Noise

Psalm 100:1 – “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.”

How do you make a joyful noise? Do you sing? Do you play an instrument? What is the noise you make that is joyful to the Lord?

I find the giggle from a baby makes me smile…that’s joyful. The chirping of birds outside on a sunny day….that’s joyful. The splashing of a trickling stream or a roaring waterfall….another joyful noise.

Personally, I love to make a joyful noise to the Lord with my voice. I love to sing (and those of you who follow this blog know that!) and most of all, I love to sing praises to God. I also enjoy playing the piano. Though I’m not at all an expert at it, I do spend a lot of time expressing myself through my piano music as well. To me, it’s a joyful noise.

Tonight, I got to enjoy hearing a joyful noise from my daughter! She performed in her first musical instrument concert….a recorder concert. I fully expected to go and have my ears assaulted. After all, how good could a fourth grade ensemble of recorder players sound? I fully expected to hear the occasional squeak from misplaced fingers on the holes or a note played out of rhythm, but I didn’t notice much of that this evening.

DSC02010

These kids were having fun up there! They didn’t care if it was perfect. They didn’t care if they missed an occasional note. All they cared about was if their parents were watching them from the audience and seeing them applaud at the end of each song.

I couldn’t help but think about what God thinks when we attempt to make a joyful noise to Him. He doesn’t care if we’re off-key; he doesn’t care if we forget the words and just hum the tune. All He cares about is the fact that we are trying to show our love to Him by praising His name.

God loves joyful noises. I know this is true. Otherwise, He wouldn’t have given us so many beautiful things to hear!

When was the last time you made a “joyful noise?” There’s no better time than the present!

♥Miriam

Thy Word Have I Hid…

As part of my job, I had the priveldge of attending my daughter’s Released Time Bible Program today. She was excited that I was coming.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. After all it has been around 33 years since I was a Released Time student. Surely, it was different than it was then. But, you know what? It really hasn’t changed all that much! All the children still recite bible verses, they all still hear a bible lesson, and they still sing songs.

imagesCAWCRD17I observed as the children recited their verses. One sweet little girl was struggling with her verse. Her listener was patient and helped her learn the verse. Within a few moments, she was able to recite it three times in a row, unassisted. “Phew,” she said as she looked at me. “I wasn’t sure I’d ever get that one!”

Today was awards day too. Katie was thrilled that her name was called not just once, but twice! She got two prizes today and I learned that she’s just a handful of points or so away from earning her bible! With a little determination, she could accomplish that this year yet! There were many who received bibles today. Some of them cradled them as the precious possession it is. Others put it in their bag they brought to class. Hopefully, they realize what a real treasure they have!

There were 3 children in 5th grade who had the required points to earn free camp! There were congratulations all around for this accomplishment! (I get to see these kids again this summer!)

I saw a young boy who was rattling off verses left and right. You could tell his parents help him learn verses. He had them perfected!

One listener was telling her two students about a Mother/Son retreat this weekend. I heard the one boy say, “Money is really tight right now. I don’t think Mom would bring me.”

My ears perked up and I asked the listener if I could talk to him. I was able to tell him about the Campership Fund we have to help children who can’t afford to go to camp. “I doubt if I could get money from that. I won’t be going to camp either, but I’d really like to go!” I told him he could use funds from this account for both things if his mother would let him. “She won’t if she has to pay it back.” he said.

“She wouldn’t have to pay it back; it’s a gift to you to come to camp!”

“Wow, that’s cool! Am I allowed to tell my mom?”

“Of course!” I replied. “That’s why I told you!” I wrote down the information for him, because we all know 10-11-year-old boys aren’t real good at remembering things!

“You made my day, lady!” he said.

I was amazed to hear these children recite so many verses! I recalled the first verse I ever learned….Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” That was in kindergarden.  When I got to Released Time, it was Psalm 119:11 – “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.”

It’s wonderful to think about how these verses will be forever a part of these kids lives! What verses do you have hidden in your heart?

♥Miriam

A Clean Sweep

Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird

We are seeing many signs of Spring. I saw a bluebird this week and to me that means Spring more than seeing robins. Today was as good as any to start Spring housecleaning! That’s what we did for most of the day!

I started in my bedroom. Now, I’m not a typical cleaner. I’m sort of an obsessive cleaner (once I get started). To me, cleaning is not just getting rid of the dust and dirt, but it’s also organizing and thinning out things you don’t want or need any longer. I spent quite a bit of time just on my nightstand, which seems to collect multiple items that I don’t have any other place for. Everyone has one of those “junk drawers” in their house (admit it, you do!). My top nightstand drawer happens to be one of three (yes, three!) junk drawers in my house. But it is a junk drawer no longer!! I’m happy to say that it now houses things that I use on a regular basis! Some of the junk found new homes (some of it in other junk drawers) and some it made a journey to the trash. I straightened out my closet, cleaned out dresser drawers and put fresh linens on the bed. Then I tackled a real mess….the computer and it’s desk.

spring cleaningKatie is the main user of this computer. Lately, when she’s on this computer and I’m on my laptop, both computers run so slowly that it’s about pointless to even try. This afternoon, I spent 4 hours cleaning the computer itself. I pulled off literally thousands of photos and put them on discs, I removed programs we no longer used, and I cleaned out “cookies” and temporary files. I ran an in-depth virus scan and “defragmented” the computer. It runs like lightning now!! Another afternoon, I’ll do the same with my laptop, but 4 hours of computer clean-up today was more than enough for one week!

I was rather excited as well to complete a task I’d been wanting to do for some time as well. I cataloged all of my accompaniment CD’s and organized them in a CD wallet, eliminating dozens of jewel cases that really take up space. I even created a file to keep track of what songs I’ve sung and where I sang them at. I feel a great sense of accomplishment for getting that done!

The bedroom looks good….at least my side of the room does (Dave still has some cleaning to do of his dresser). It still needs swept and the curtains washed, but other than that….immaculate! Katie even worked on her bedroom today and also tackled her nightstand drawer!

Spring cleaning has never been my favorite thing. I really don’t like to clean….I have to be “in the mood” to do it. But, once I get started, I sometimes have trouble stopping. I didn’t have trouble stopping today….my brain was a bit fried after messing with cleaning up the computer all afternoon.

I did get to walk around outside for a while today. The signs of Spring are definitely there! The first thing I noticed was the hyacinths at my back door. The leaves are up and they’re in bud! I love the sweet smell they give when they bloom (that’s why they’re at my back door….so I smell them first when I go outside). We’re starting to see buds on the trees. Birds are gathering things to make nests. I saw a wren checking out our birdhouse this week too (I love the wrens that visit our house…they like to perch and hop around on our porch!).

Wren

Wren

As I see the signs of Spring and begin my Spring housecleaning, I can’t help but think that this would be a good time to do some personal “cleansing” as well. In Psalm 51:10, David writes, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” That is my prayer as we go into this season of the year. I want all those “cobwebs” in my soul to be swept out and God’s love to “cleanse” my spirit. Spring is a time for beginnings and renewal. Our desire should be to be renewed and revived with God as the focus of our lives.

Hyacinth budHappy Spring!

♥Miriam

My Cup Runneth Over

If you know me well, you know that I like tea. Well, maybe that’s not entirely true. I love tea! I love to drink tea, but more than that, I love to “go to tea”!

Homemade Scones

Homemade Scones

Have you ever been to a tea? You should try it some time. The tea, of course, is the featured  delight, but there’s so much more to it. There’s a small serving of soup, a salad, tiny little sandwiches barely more than 2-3 bites big. There are scones….oh, I love the scones…..especially with lemon curd and clotted cream. Yes, clotted cream. I know it sounds disgusting, but don’t knock it till you try it. Fresh fruit accompanies the scones. Then there are these little, rich, tempting  desserts….just a bite, but oh so decedent!  Some tea rooms will end your tea with a sorbet to cleanse your palate. The whole experience is just wonderful. But there’s something even better than the tea and food.  It’s the time spent with those you are having tea with. It’s a time to relax and just enjoy each other.  You can easily visit for hours sipping tea and nibbling sweets and savories. It’s not uncommon for each participant to consume more than one pot of tea.

Mini Desserts

Mini Desserts

Today, I enjoyed a different kind of tea. I was attending a conference. The people attending this conference are all involved in camping ministry in some way. We were having tea to experience what a tea would be like in a camp setting and to think about how we could incorporate teas at our own camps. I got to participate with some unlikely people.Across from me at my table, was an older woman, old enough to be my mother. We really didn’t know each other, though we had eaten a meal at the same table before. During the course of the tea, she asked questions of each of us and we were able to tell our stories of how we got involved in camping ministry.  She shared hers as well.

To my left, was the most unlikely of people to attend a tea. It was our camp cook. This was definitely a new experience for him. He inquired if he should extend his pinky to drink from his cup, as he knew this what proper English people did for tea. He began to discuss what he would prepare for a tea and began to recite a menu that sounded more like a feast than a tea.  Roasted marinated pork tenderloin, baked chicken….obviously, he had never experienced a tea before. He was a bit unrefined, but did his best to participate. He asked me many questions and began to refer to me as the “tea guru”.  But, during our tea, my table learned about his passion for cooking, his passion to reach teens with God’s love, his passion to be in service for God. We learned that he was a new believer, having just become a Christian in June of this past year. As he shared his story, I gleaned a new admiration for him.

To my right, was another unlikely guest. Like me, she was a first time attendee at the conference. But, to my surprise, we knew each other! We hadn’t seen each other for 37 years….we were in 2nd grade when we last saw each other.  Who would have thought I’d be having tea with a childhood friend? We were surprised to learn that we both have daughters that are close in age, that we both ended up in Christian ministry around the same time. She had gone through some struggles over the years, as have I. Our lives were pretty parallel to each others. We reminisced about our 2nd grade teacher and we pondered as to what had happened to others that were in our class. The years melted away and we were 7 again!

Tea Sandwiches

Tea Sandwiches

I thought of the devotional that was offered prior to the tea. What kind of cup were we? Were we a broken cup in need of repair. Were we a cracked cup in need of some reinforcement? Was our cup empty? I thought about this as we enjoyed our tea and goodies. I thought of the differences in the people at my table. Our camp cook was recently an empty cup and was now filled with Holy Spirit. The lady across from me was once a cracked cup, and just needed reassurance that she and her husband were doing the right thing in entering Christian ministry. My childhood friend had once been a broken cup, but God had glued her back together. And me….I was a full cup. I was full with the new respect for those around me, full with happiness for reconnecting with a long-lost friend, full of hope that I too would find fulfillment as I progressed on my journey to grow in my job.  Yes, my cup was full, so full that it began to overflow. I was so thankful for the friendships grown and strengthened over tea.  But more than this, was so thankful that I get to serve God doing something I enjoy.

David knew this feeling when he wrote the 23rd Psalm. Verse 5 says, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; MY CUP RUNNETH OVER.” He knew the joy that comes from being in communion with God. What kind of cup are you?

♥Miriam