His Smile

Monday, September 29, 2014

September 14, 2014

They had been in the office for quite a while. She sat at the old coffee table with her purse resting against the leg beside her while she carefully and methodically folded the edges one way and then the other before tearing them off of the printer paper. She knew that this job belonged to her as long as she wanted it. She was glad to be in here with him. Every now and then she would stop what she was doing just to look up at him. She could only see the side of his face because he was looking at his computer screen. He had a look of concentration and he seemed to be pushing the same button over and over again. The machine was big and she didn't have a clue as to what he was doing. She just loved being with him.

All of a sudden, he turned toward her with his hands on his knees and asked if she had finished her work. He announced that it was time for another job. They closed the door on the office and headed down the hall. He stopped at the closet and she waited beside him to see what he would pull out this time. Excitement washed over her when he turned around with a single white paper plate. He didn't have to tell her what it was for. She knew.

They headed down the stairs and stopped by the front door to lace up their shoes before going outside. She ran ahead of him to the small grove of trees that she thought of as "her" forest. They chose the best leaves and acorns and even a few of the spiney balls that always fascinated her. She continued searching and he puttered around the yard. She didn't mind that he had left her to choose the rest of the pieces by herself. She would look for something really pretty to surprise him.

When she was finished, she used both hands to carry her treasures over to the front porch where he had settled into a lawn chair. He helped her up into his lap and they looked at each one. With the patience of an old man who recognized the wonder of youth, he listened as she talked about why she chose the pieces that she had in her hands. This was her favorite part.

Later they would head into the house and he would help her get started with the process of attaching them to the plate with Elmer's glue. They would sit at the table and he would read the paper while he waited for her to finish. When the glue was dry enough, he would take the nature plate and hang it with the others in the office on the closet door. They would stand and admire the plates and talk about what made each one special.

She would look up at him and he would look down at her and the smile on his face would stay with her forever. She would never forget the way that smile made her feel. He smiled more with his eyes than any other part of his face. It communicated deep joy and pride and safety. His smile held so many words and she heard every one of them...

But right now they were sitting on the porch having a conversation that didn't have to end. She knew these moments were special, but it wasn't until many years later that she really understood why.

* * *
Although this piece may read like fiction,  it's true.
It's  my story  and it's about a smile that
I've loved  as long as I can remember.
You can read another one like it HERE.

I am also writing over at The Quiet Place Blog today, so go say hello over THERE! :) 

Two - Four

Friday, September 26, 2014

So, two weeks ago, I turned 24 and had a party and made my favorite bundt cake (recipe to come!!!).
When it came time to add another number to my age this year, I had a lot of thoughts. This has been a year when God has been teaching me that:

to behold is to become

to become you must behold

we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 
(2 Cor. 3:18)

Everywhere I turn, I am reading or hearing someone say some variation of those phrases.

If you've been around here for a while, you know that my greatest joy and aspiration in life is to become like my Savior. He is my only hope. He is my anchor. He is my guide. I love knowing that God has committed Himself to helping me to see His glory and to use that sight to make me more like Jesus Christ.

I've been coming to this space for years now to share some of these glimpses and to share the highs (and lows) of life.

23 was a pretty awesome year. I really don't think 24 can even compete.

God is still teaching me this "to behold is to become" business, so I must have a lot more to get to the bottom of.

During my last week of 23,  I read a book that Jay brought back from his trip to Florida this year. The book is "The Evangelistic Zeal of George Whitefield" by Steven J. Lawson. I love reading about people who truly were committed to God and depended on Him with every fiber of their being. Whitefield was such a man.

Did you know that someone tried to attack him in his bed?

Did you know that he preached tirelessly until his dying day?

Did you know that he is probably the reason why Phyllis Wheatley ended up published?

As I reflect on 23 and embrace 24, I continue about the business of setting my hope in God. I thank Him for these men who have honored His name above their own. I pray that I would behold Him and that beholding Him I would be transformed. I pray that I would have the same wherewithal that drove Whitefield until his last so that wherever life takes, I can truly say, "I will fear no evil". I pray that the words of my mouth would be a fountain of life and that my influence would inspire many to join in on the praises of our great God.

What has God been teaching you this year?

How many candles are on YOUR cake?

The Circle: Fall Favorites

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

When Kiki announced this month's theme, I was super excited! Aside from summer, fall is my favorite season. Today is the day we all talk about why we love it so much.

The DRINKS:This fall, I've been drinking Irish breakfast tea. It won't be long and I'll be whipping up salted caramel mochas and ordering hazelnut mochas at coffee shops. 

BUCKET LIST ITEM: I'd love to make a trip to my favorite orchard/pumpkin patch/corn maze.

RECIPE: The ginger cookies that Carol taught me how to make during my time in Massachusetts. They are soft and chewy and packed with flavor. I love them! 

CANDY OR PSL: Candy for sure! I didn't even like pumpkin pie until a few years ago. I'm just not into pumpkin everything. I AM into snickers and reeses's and candy corn with peanuts. 

The SCENTS: I've always loved Yankee Candle's fall line. Some of my favorites are: Spiced Pumpkin, Apple Cider, and Banana Nut Bread. Anything warm and spicy, really. 

The HOLIDAYS: Thanksgiving is by far my favorite fall holiday. It is one of the hardest in that it always makes me miss my Grandma, but I love being in the kitchen with my Mom and having my sister join us for the last few years has been special too. The memories, the cooking, the food, the games, and the question of whether or not there will be snow are the best! 

I'd love to hear about your favorite fall things!

If you're here because of the link up, be sure to let me know you stopped by. :)

Grace Upon Grace pt. 5

Monday, September 22, 2014

* Hot weather. It has warmed back up over the last week or so and I have been loving it. There's still a crispness to the air, but I can sit outside and feel the sun on my skin again.

* The "Not my circus, not my monkeys" quote that's been going around. 

We usually host a HUGE get together in September, but I just knew that I wasn't going to be up for it this year. I apologized/declared my incompetence by sharing this quote with people. I've been saying it all weekend and even though a few people came I didn't play the hostess game this year.

It was wonderful. I needed the break.

* Conversations with strangers. I'm always up for a chat...Always. And I try to be safe about it, but I'm just going to talk to strangers.

I've met two people who interjected themselves into my conversation after listening to me say something to someone else (THAT'S a little creepy). As for a less creepy introduction, my Mom and I met an 84 year old man who came to America from Greece when he was 16. That is THE old country...In case you were wondering.

* My brother and sister. I can't emphasize enough how glad I am to be around for their teenage years. Teenagers have ALWAYS driven me a bit nuts, but I love them and I'm excited to watch them become passionate about things and pursue those passions as they get older.

* Time. I can't decide exactly how I feel about it, but fall always makes me get all nostalgic. I love looking back (well, on most of it anyway) and looking ahead.

Let's link up with JORDYN!!!

Nuggets of Gold

Saturday, September 20, 2014

"Wonder Working God" by Jared C. Wilson is a book to read slowly. If you're like me, you'll find yourself reading a chapter or two at a time and then spending several days going back over the key points.

Wilson is an excellent theologian. I have enjoyed reading his articles on the internet for quite some time, but this is my first time reading one of his books. He tends to be very true to the text so I was disappointed and surprised when I came across sections where he embellished Scripture by filling in the blanks and talking about what else MIGHT have been going on. I find it extremely unhelpful when people handle God's Word this way. Another thing that kept stopping me in my tracks were the places where Wilson used what I would describe as "juvenile" phrases to make a certain point. I'm sure many would find his style relatable, but I had to work very hard to get past it.

HOWEVER, every single time I would decide that this book just didn't pass muster, he would come right back around and share an application of Biblical truth that was spot on. I'd find myself highlighting a sentence or paragraph and making a note so that I can return to it later.

I have come to the conclusion that while this book did not meet my expectations or unpack the miracles of Jesus in a way that was particularly unique, it is not a book we should dismiss. Pick up your copy HERE and get ready to see how Jesus' miracles fit into God's big picture. You might even discover that many of them contain convicting lessons that will bring you to your knees.

Mr. Wilson, thank you for studying God's Word, taking the time to share what you've learned, and for being dedicated to the glory of our great God!

 * I was provided with a review copy of this book by Crossway. All thoughts are my own honest opinion.