Tuesday, January 28, 2014

It's the Little Things

Sunday Dinners in the south. Where the family gathers at grandma's house for a huge eclectic meal after church services, followed by sports on the television and a rambunctious card or board game at the kitchen table. Or a backyard softball/volleyball game and some mud riding.

We enjoy them around here on occasion - usually once a month or so. But that is a rarity compared with how I was raised. We spent pretty much every Sunday Dinner gathered around the table at Grandma Fulton's or scrounging for an empty spot on the hearth at Grandma Jenkins'. (Unless it was below 60 degrees outside....then Grandpa would have that fireplace blazing so hot you couldn't get near the hearth without firefighter gear on!)

So it was that I found myself up early on Sunday morning trying to get a roast in the oven before church. (Confession: I never made it to church. I don't know how my grandmother's did it EVERY Sunday while making it look so easy.)

I pulled out the gray oblong roaster, washed the potatoes and loaded them in the bottom, seasoned and seared the roast and turned to begin peeling the carrots. As I watched the thin orange shavings building up in the sink, I caught the sight of my own hands moving swiftly over each surface with Grandma Fulton's old silver peeler.

My heart filled with love while my mind filled with memories. I am so thankful for the heritage the Lord blessed me with. And I am often taken by surprise at what evokes the strongest memories. It is most often "the little things".

And it makes me wonder, "What will evoke those memories of us when our grandchildren have grandchildren of their own"?

I'm sure it will be "the little things" that we hardly take notice of while they are happening.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Winding My Way To WHOLEhearted Living

Little did I know two weeks ago where this "Wholehearted" journey was going to take me.

Little do I know now what winding roads still await me in 2014...perhaps beyond.

While I recognized from the beginning that it was a 'scary' word, --a 'vulnerable' word, --perhaps even an 'impossible' word; I was still looking at it through rose-colored glasses.

I imagined being better able to embrace a healthy lifestyle because I was 'wholeheartedly' committed to my health.  I would spend more time soaking in the simple beauties that surround me because I was 'wholeheartedly' content.  I dreamed of being able to walk into any social setting secure in my worth because I was 'wholeheartedly' being the Fonda that God created me to be.

I worked at assigning each of Brene Brown's ten guideposts from the book "The Gifts of Imperfection"  their own month to be my focus.  (I figured there would be a few that may need more than a month's worth of focus.)

I ordered a custom made bracelet to wear as a reminder.  I researched other possible texts that might prove useful during the year to come.  I outlined and prepared.  Little did I know that the Lord was even busier at His work of preparing my heart.

I should have guessed it when I wiped clean Ann Spangler's quote defining 'Shalom' from my kitchen chalkboard and replaced it with this....

You see, even though I am 'scheduled' to be "Cultivating Authenticity" (according to my plans), the Lord has been revealing my lack of WHOLEness in heart.

He has revealed dead places -- areas where I need the God of creation to breathe new life into me.

He has revealed empty spaces -- areas where I need the Holy Spirit to come and fill me with His presence.

He has revealed heart wounds that remain infected -- areas where I need the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ to wash me clean and replace the decay with healing.

He has revealed to me that I cannot begin LIVING wholehearted until He has transformed me into BEING wholehearted.

Perhaps that is why a quote from Margaret Feinberg's audio-book, "Wonderstruck", grabbed me during my daily commute.  It took my breath so soundly that I didn't just jot it down on a scrap of paper, but I looked it up later to make sure that I had recorded it correctly.  It captivated my mind so wondrously that I felt compelled to inscribe a part of it on a snowy backdrop to share with you here on the blog.

So much symbolism of where I am right now!
And I created this picture BEFORE I realized any of it.

This is my heart's cry right now.  Yes, I want to live Wholehearted in 2014...in every area of my life.  But even more...right now, I want to BE WHOLEhearted.  Fully alive. Filled with Him.  Healthy in heart.  Able to honestly sing at the top of my lungs, "If ever I loved Thee; My Jesus, 'tis now."!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Happy 19th Birthday, Will!

Somewhere along the way you went from this...
...to this....

...and now it is more often this.

But no matter what, you will always be our 'baby' boy.  Thanks for choosing to spend your birthday with us.  We love you and are so very proud of you.

Mom and Dad

Posting a day late because we celebrated until nearly 2 am with most of the family. (We missed you, Josh!)  It was a wonderfully LOUD night.

Monday, January 6, 2014

My One Word For 2014


1. completely and sincerely devoted, determined, or enthusiastic

2. marked by complete earnest commitment: free from from all reserve or hesitation

adjective: having or showing no doubt or uncertainty about doing something, supporting someone, etc.
Merriam Webster online dictionary

It's a scary word, isn't it?  

It's a vulnerable word.  

It's an impossible word.

It's my One Word.

I didn't choose it. 

It chose me.

I heard it in Jeremiah 29:13 "...search for Me with all your heart."

I heard it in the words of my devotional..."In early adulthood my heart needed healing.  I knew God.  I served Him, but I ached for release...in my growing desire to please the Father, I realized I did not harbor a love for His Word.  I began asking Him to develop such a love within me.  As He did, something I never expected happened to me.  My heart began to heal.  I knew I was healthier.  I felt it.  I didn't begin studying God's Word so I could become whole, but I soon discovered that the more I sought His counsel, the more I healed."   (Taken from 'Whispers of Hope' by Beth Moore, published 2013, page 14)

I heard it as I prepared to teach Romans 7 in Sunday School this morning.  As the writer of the material asked the questions, "Who can put me out of this misery?  Who can rescue me from this body of death?"  His answer: "Only Jesus.  Only Jesus.  Only Jesus."  Talk about wholehearted living! 

Oh yeah, and when I got home and looked on my nightstand there lay a little book I've been meaning to read by Brene Brown.  "The Gifts of Imperfection: Letting Go of Who You think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are"...and just after that title is one little line, 'Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life'.

She is the one who gave me the courage to share my One Word with y'all.  Two simple but profound sentences.

"Wholehearted living is not a onetime choice.  
It is a process."
Page 1

The Free Dictionary defines wholehearted as 'marked by unconditional commitment, unstinting devotion, or unreserved enthusiasm'.

In 359 days, when 2014 comes to a close, I want to be marked by Jesus.  I want my marriage to be marked by Jesus.  I want my relationships to be marked by Jesus.  I want my body to be marked by Jesus.

Just as I didn't live every day of 2013 experiencing 'shalom', I know that I will fall short (probably more times than not) in my goal to live 'wholehearted'.  But maybe having it in front of me will act as a reminder that it is possible.

The online Thesaurus says the antonyms of wholehearted are 'disinterested, insincere, unenthusiastic, halfhearted'.

I hope that these words become less and less a description of me...and that instead I learn to live with true courage, compassion and connection.

To Him be the glory if I am able to live even one wholehearted day before God and man! 

Saturday, January 4, 2014


January 1 dawned cold in northeast Arkansas, but I snuggled up under a blanket sitting in mother-in-love's bedroom glider with the Word in my lap and a brand new devotional opened to 'Day One".

I read from Genesis 1 & 2 about God working creatively and orderly in our lives.  But The words that flowed through my mind were from Jeremiah the prophet.  So, I turned the pages to refresh my mind of what God had really said.

"For thus says the Lord, 'When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place.  

'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.

'You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

'I will be found by you,' declares the Lord, 'and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,' declares the Lord, 'and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.'
Jeremiah 29:10-14

I think we all are tempted to skip over that first part from time to time.  We don't want the captivity for 70 years...or to think that it might actually be for our welfare and to provide us with a future.  We only want to look at verse 11.  

What caught my attention this time and has continued to stay with me are the words from verses 13 and 14.  "You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, declares the Lord..."  

Oh, how I want to find Him in 2014.

And that's what I'm pondering today.  How about you?

ponder: to think or consider, especially quietly, soberly and deeply

Just a note: I searched and searched for the creator of the artwork at the top of this post but couldn't find it.  It was something I pinned on Pinterest and was unable to find the original source.  

Friday, January 3, 2014

I Feel A Bit Like Dorothy

No matter how many wonderful people you get to see...

or what great adventures you have...

there is no place like home...

there is no place like home!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Writing A Good Story

Maybe it is due to the turn of the calendar pages to a new year.

Maybe it is due to the fresh beginning in a new devotional...no highlights, no marks yet made.

Maybe it is because in seven months and three days I will be turing a big ?-0.

Whatever it is...this picture I saw on a friends Facebook page strikes a chord within my soul.

And yes, my book has a page and a half written by now...not all of it what I would have wanted. I've been short with those I love, I've been selfish and tempermental. I have also chosen edamame over Nutter Butters and gone for a walk in the foothills of Arkansas.

My prayer is that I remember every day that a blank page awaits me...and that at the end of 2014 I can look back and say, "God is faithful" & "It was good."

Hope your story is too!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Goodbye 2013...Hello 2014!

Yesterday morning, New Years Eve 2013, Jim and I loaded up in his big Dodge pickup and headed northeast. It was time for our traditional New Year's visit with his mom and dad in Pocahontas, Arkansas. What is not traditional is the fact that for the first time EVER, it was just he and I on the trip. None of the children, none of the grandchildren....just us two empty nesters...on a ten hour journey.

As we drove, I asked Jim if he had any resolutions or goals for 2014. I think I knew the answer before I asked it. He just isn't made that way. He takes the world as it comes at him. No need for big plans in his mind. So I asked him about 2013 and what it had meant to him. Again, nothing other than it went by too quickly.

So, he turned the question on me and I had to really think about it. What was the biggest thing I wanted to remember about 2013?

The first thing I thought was, 'it was busy, but it was good'. I thought of the trips and the times spent with those I love. That was when I realized that with nearly two years worth of counseling I can truly say that in 2013 I lived in the moment. If it was bad, I admitted that it was bad...but I also reminded myself that it wasn't going to be that way forever. Then I tried to find the 'gift' of the moment.

Like the day I drove for eight hours in order to be in attendance for my mother's surgery...only to receive a phone call when I was 15 minutes from my destination that the surgeon had cancelled due to dropping a fountain on his hand that afternoon. Surgery would be rescheduled for the following week. Except I had already planned to stay through the week to attend my niece's graduation ceremony at the University of Arkansas. So, was I going to drive back to Houston, stay two days and drive all the way back to Arkansas? Or maybe I should fly back to Houston, leave my truck at the airport and then fly back to Little Rock in two days? And then The Lord laid on my heart, 'go visit Jim's parents and take his mom to Branson for a couple of days'. Make the most of your time.

So, I did. Living fully in the moment that I had been given. Not pouting over the change to my schedule. Not trying to force something to happen. Just going with the flow of the gift of time I had been unexpectedly given.

And that is when it hit me. My One Word for 2013 had been 'Shalom'. I had just written it on an ornament and hung it on my tree a few days before as a reminder. 'Shalom', peace...that really did sum up my experiences in 2013. Don't get me wrong, there were times that didn't feel peaceful at all. But somewhere deep in my being His peace resided throughout 2013.

"...shalom conveys the idea of peace, tranquility, satisfaction, success, prosperity, healing, completeness, safety, well-being, and good relationships..."

He is faithful!

And so now I wait patiently for confirmation of My One Word for 2014. I have a clue what it will be...but I am asking The Lord to confirm it or to lead me to the right one. I pray that as you looked back on 2013 you saw His hand at work and thanked Him for His faithfulness.

All my love for the New year!
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