{That Moment in Time}

You have Youth but you waste it

You have Time but you squander it

 

You have people who love you

Friends who embrace you

Family who know you

 

But you ignore the gold mines that surround you

Choosing junk, trash and folly instead

 

And your skin is smooth

Your teeth are strong

Your ponytail is thick

You can touch your toes

You can leave the house without makeup and

You believe all your dreams will come true

 

And at the exact point you realize those days are gone,

You instantly realize what a gift they were.

What do you call that moment in time?

~~~

Help us to remember that our days are numbered,

and help us to interpret our lives correctly.

Set your wisdom deeply in our hearts… — Psalm 90:12 TPT

~~~

Photo by Jan Kubita

{ About August }

In the life of an aging year, August is the cheerful-going-gray-stage. Decay is in the air and birds are empty-nesters. August’s garden is full of hearty thorns that cannot be rooted out easily — and she is too tired to try.

June works hard to stay attractive, but August knows better. She’s seen the storms and wind and hail and hungry insects. She shrugs and makes do. She’s got beauty: the below-skin-deep and low-maintenance kind. It’s easy-care and comfortably hospitable; visitors pop on by for a nibble, then fly to new homes.

August weeds are reckless vines, unruly thistledown and flyaway milkweed. Her ready-to-drop flowers are barely holding on to dried, patchy blooms.

August grooms herself casually — if at all — and without a mirror.

She lays back, tanned and wrinkled, as she watches summer’s finale with a satisfied, tired smile.

 

{ 7 Questions }

I received a list of thoughtful questions from a dear one.

Answering these questions might be an excellent end-of-year exercise to rouse my sluggish brain cells out of their post-Christmas sugar stupor!

So…here goes.

(If you also would like some brain exercise, feel free to answer one of the questions ~ post your answer in the comment area below!)

Happy 2019.

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  1. If the last year could be summed up in one word, what would it be? Doors. Doors are pathways to growth, discovery and change. There were subtle but real changes in our family; new job opportunities, new friendships, and new “life tributaries” that occurred in our growing young adult children.   They are blossoming into their own persons.  This is hard sometimes for a mother.  I must bite my tongue when older children don’t automatically mimic our parental ideals. God is molding them uniquely; they have brains, prayers and dreams of their own.
  2. What are two or three major themes that kept occurring? Change. Reality. Release.
  3. What did I accomplish this year that I am most proud of? Small internal victories, like: Holding my tongue at the exact right time. Deciding to wait and listen before reacting. Asking another question instead of responding emotionally.  Ignoring a perceived offense rather than retaliate with a sarcastic / witty comeback. Choosing faith instead of worry.  (These might seem like itsy bitsy successes hardly worthy of mentioning, and they might have only happened once or twice in all of the 365 days of 2018. But to me, they seemed to be larger accomplishments than completing an Ironman triathlon….)
  4. What do I feel I should have been acknowledged for, but wasn’t? Hmmm….I will think about this one…or maybe I shouldn’t dig around to find something?
  5. What disappointments or regrets did I experience this year? Spending time doing unimportant, useless, time-wasting things.
  6. What was missing from my year as I look back? Nothing that I can think of. 
  7. What were some major life lessons I learned this year? Time passes faster than I think it can or want it to.  

So teach us to number our days
    that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Photo credit:Josh Riemer

Questions adapted from Lore Wilbert ~  http://www.sayable.net/about/ 

{ Closed Doors and Open Windows }

Life is a series of closed doors and open windows. And open doors and closed windows.
Then, there are doors that you thought were open that shut abruptly in your face.

On the other hand, doors you thought were locked can be surprisingly easy to kick open.
And occasionally, a tightly closed window will fall open, unhinged, enrapturing your soul.


Why write this?
In a desire to avoid a traditional Christmas letter, I still want to look over the year thoughtfully and learn the lessons I’ve been given. That’s what you do when you are fifty-plus. You learn that it’s worthwhile to spend 30 minutes reflecting, so that you can avoid months of making the same mistakes.

Or to be more honest, if I don’t write it down, I will forget.

January 2018 began with some confusion and a closed door. It brought the opportunity for us, as imperfect parents, to seek wisdom from the Wisdom Giver and use it to give sage advice. It’s a humbling tightrope to tiptoe upon, but asking, seeking, knocking and walking in faith will always get you to the destination God has for you.

When a door slams, the breeze it creates can heal and cause growth.

June brought another graduation, which means pasta and purple-frosted sheet cake. I leafed through old photos, amazed at how God closes precious doors at the same time He offers those looming, open windows. They lead to who-knows-where and it’s a little scary. But He is holding our hand as we slide our way through them.
Summer 2018 days were traditional and new at the same time:

  • Swimming lessons in a different pool.
  • Beach trips to new local shores.
  • New project ideas at the same old county fair.

The garden was stingy with tomatoes, but generous in zinnias, bees and butterflies.

Then came a wide open window, a chance to see an old friend after many years. That meeting was unexpected & sweet.
Summer ushered us gently into fall, so we basked in apple-bounty and we crafted on a shoestring. New doors opened for my husband and his job shook up our schedule, but it also gifted us with new stories and opportunities.
In November we celebrated Turkey Bowl #19. My husband is almost 60 and runs around a football field with such agility that his fellow amateur athletes think he’s 35. I will continue to thank God for my husband’s good health, even as I get out the Tiger Balm and Epsom salts.
And shortly after we hosted new friends for Thanksgiving, I looked at my kitchen with fresh eyes:

We have lived here for 20 years. It’s time to give this place a face lift.

  • I am shutting the proverbial door on those faded chicken curtains and poultry art in general.
  • I am ready to toss threadbare towels and lose that bright yellow bathroom.

(These are the types of Home Decorating Mission Statements that I hope will propel me through 2019.)
So, paint chips have been secured, walls stripped bare of rooster paraphernalia and Pinterest has been feverishly scanned. I hope next year’s recap will include some home decor success stories.

Still in 2018, we have a son who is following an idea, a dream, a possibility. It’s progressing; it’s full of many little steps. And if — after all the steps — this son finds a closed door, it will be okay. The hallway he walked down has been worth it.

Sometimes a closed door gives you the oomph to scale a ladder and pry open a window, where you find something better.

And sometimes, you just pivot, re-trace your steps, turn the corner and look for another inviting door to try.

Oh, I forgot the books.

Books and audiobooks (new & old favorites) inspired and entertained us in 2018:

In 2018, we saw new babies born and sick marriages die. People entered our lives and our church, and people exited. A dear family moved miles away and started a new chapter and we are happy for their open window…but it looks a little like a closed door on our side.

And still in 2018, our peers became in-laws and grandparents and we were reminded that we are all getting older. This happens slowly–and never in our hearts — but always in the mirror.
Well, I’ll end here for now — unless I God opens a window in my brain and reminds me of something important I forgot.
© Lisa M. Luciano

Photo credits:

white infinity doors:Filip Kominik

colored locker doors:moren hsu

blue windows:Paul Fleury

{ This Week in Pictures }

 

Bowls cover breakfast eggs, lovingly scrambled by a repentant Mama. (She had barked at her little boy when he asked her three times if she remembered her promise to make him an egg in the morning.)

Ms. Road Construction looked so fetching in her hat and trousers that I had to snap a photo.  What else was there to do for ten minutes while we waited in line?

My dear daughter is celebrating her 23rd birthday tomorrow. “Where has the time gone?”

We invited some dear little people to play with us last week while their Mama went out to lunch.  Back when I had my babies, I didn’t have such an awkward time getting up & down off the floor. Back then, I didn’t have to grab my reading glasses to see what the puzzle looks like. I have missed these little happy little folks who give you the opportunity to get down on the floor and make animal noises.

 

{ What is an Adventure? }

lime donuts

What is an adventure?

An adventure is a little trip that twists unexpectedly, making life more intriguing or educational than just staying home.

It’s like heading to Hinckley because someone on Craigslist wants to buy your antique chair.  Along the way, you run into tangled traffic and a surprising amount of snow.  And when you are almost there, the chair customer calls and says she is not interested after all.

So, the tears and loud expressions of regret you yell aloud in an empty car make you realize that you are still pretty rough around the edges and God has more work to do on you.

Life is an adventure that is filled with mini adventures.  Just when you think you are going to the store for potatoes, you run out of gas and meet an angel on County Road #1. And when you arrive home without the forgotten potatoes, you are faced with the truth you should have known all along:  everyone wanted pancakes, anyway.

An adventure is a journey of corners. As you peek around each one, you may find a nest of  naked, newborn field mice, or a key lime donut with chocolate sprinkles.  You never know. A true adventure is usually not 100% bad or 100% good – it’s a little of both.

Unplanned, unexpected and possibly unwelcome, an adventure makes you richer because, after all the field mice and donuts, you have a true and unique story to tell.

—-

“Adventures are never fun while you’re having them.”

~ C.S. Lewis, Voyage of the Dawn Treader

—–

© Lisa M. Luciano

 

 

{ Real Thoughts }

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I’m reading a book called “Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life” by Douglas Wilson. My daughter gave it to me for my birthday.  It’s funny, inspiring, and short enough to read in a few hours.

In one sitting, I read all the way to section six, which advises:

“Live an actual life out there, a full life, the kind that will generate a surplus of stories.”

So it got me thinking:

Am I living a full, actual life?

Or, do I lose sight of purpose between shuffling laundry loads and racing to town to grab groceries and the discount latte of the day?

(These duties are needful, of course.  Especially the latte.)

I grudgingly left my book and walked out to the garden.

This reassured me that I must be living a real life– a busy life that keeps me from tending weeds and overripe cucumbers wasting away under dry, tangled vines.

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And just then —  with one foot, I stepped on a thistle, while my other foot stepped on a bee, who had been sucking on the clover that grew from an unmowed lawn.

Suddenly, I felt fully alive.

© Lisa M. Luciano

Photo credits:

Laundry — Nik MacMillan

Cucumbers —Markus Spiske

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

{ Dear Me as a New Bride }

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~~ Celebrating our 28th Anniversary~ 06/23/1990 ~~(We don’t look like this anymore.)

 

Dear Me as a New Bride,

You look really happy and content.

Stay that way.

Right now, your new husband seems as kindred as one of your female friends.

But, he’s a man.  Don’t forget that.

On the surface, you two speak the same language.

But your heart language is different.

When you love him in FemaleHeartSpeak,

he won’t understand.

Speak LOVE in his own language:

Respect

Loyalty

And Intimacy

(The physical kind.)

If you ever get discouraged,

Always, always consult your User’s Manual first.

You will have bad days…

…but don’t wallow in self-pity.

A Christian marriage is not about YOU,

any more than The Christian Life is all about YOU.

Marriage is one big school to make you more like Jesus.

Someday, you will look back and see

the big picture

and the footprints of God

who effortlessly carried you through every joy and trial.

Keep that fresh, dewy, idealistic smile on your face.

With God,

You got this.

Love, Me

 

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

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6/23/2018

 

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/06/23/possibility/

 

© Lisa M. Luciano

{ Change }

 

 

There are dozens of songs containing the word change somewhere in the title:

Change of Heart

Seasons Change

She Changes the Weather

We Can Change the World

I Don’t Want to Change the World

Can’t Change Me

A Change Would Do You Good

Everything Changes

Nuthin’ Changes

We change our minds, our décor, and our favorite frothy drink at the coffee shop.

It’s amazing – and comforting—to ponder the fact that God never changes. 

  • “For I the Lord do not change…”—Malachi 3:6
  • “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” –Hebrews 13:8
  • “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind.” –Numbers 23:19

But people change. We age. We grow. We are different now than we were ten years ago.

We experience a changed life when we surrender to Jesus Christ.

And then, we keep changing:

  • Growing— in grace and in the knowledge of God. (2 Peter 3:18)
  • Decreasing—so He can increase in us. (John 3:30)
  • Filling up – with the knowledge of His will. (Colossians 1:9)

A solid Christian should grow like a healthy tree: producing mature fruit, sheltering branches, and a constant reach for heaven.

Keep changing.  Keep growing.  Keep softening the rigid ways that are just tradition or denomination.  Keep learning how to love like Jesus did.

Don’t change your convictions if they are based on God’s word.

Don’t change because of your whims, or because the current culture screams at you to do so.

“…You and I cannot change or control the world around us, but we can change and control the world within us.”– Warren Wiersbe

 

Photo Credits:

Marina Khrapova

Gary Bendig

{ Tending Life’s Garden }

we-have-a-little-garden
Picture and poem by Beatrix Potter

 

We have a little garden

A garden of our own

And every day we water there

The seeds that we have sown.

We love our little garden,

And tend it with such care,

You will not find a faded leaf

Or blighted blossom there.

 

When I sow pumpkin seeds, I harvest pumpkins.  When I cover the garden with dandelion-infested mulch, I find lots of dandelions growing later in July.

We know this about gardens, but sometimes forget about the law of sowing and reaping in life. When I sow bad seeds, I will reap bad fruit:

  1. When I gorge on chocolates, I will reap extra pounds.
  2. When I harbor bitterness against someone, I will reap an injured relationship and stifle forgiveness.
  3. When I allow my children to read or watch foolish things, we will reap more foolishness.

And then there are weeds….

  • Weeds grow faster than anything else.  Pull, uproot and destroy before they get so big you need an ax to chop them down.
  • Weeds are tricky.  They can grow and network underground where you can’t see them.  Little sins in the thoughts left unchecked turn into big problems later.
  • Weeds rob the good stuff.  Weeds in a relationship drain us.  We cannot enjoy each other when the annoying, prickly weeds of bad habits are bugging us.

 

Gracious God,
We want to have good soil in our souls,
show us how to tend to our spiritual gardens.
Thank you for the Master Gardener!
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

“Your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds.  The harvest will bring either flowers or weeds.”

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” –Robert Louis Stevenson

Prayer from http://www.flowingfaith.com/2013/03/tending-your-spiritual-garden.html