The Unseen

There is always beauty to be seen. Even on rainy, nasty days you can find something lovely that makes you smile. Granted you might have to find it indoors, or inside another person but the beauty is there to be seen and experienced. So often a rough morning, an unkind word, or even a rainy day causes us to forget that there is still beauty both within us and around us.

A few months ago Jim and I took a walk from the beach back to our apartment, 5+ miles. Why? Because Jim thought it’d be a good idea and I am so completely in love with spending time with him that i agreed.

Only a few blocks into our walk we came upon a sign that said “park closes at sundown.” We were on a main road with no park around us, but the sign was nestled in some trees with a path in front of it going left and right. I turned and asked Jim if we could PLEASE take a detour… I love parks and because I’m nosey.

I wasn’t prepared for the beauty we found hidden right off Granada. Just a few feet within the park, or well, really it’s a garden. It’s lovely! A few more feet in and you forget that Ormond Beach is just on the other side of the trees. Beauty was hidden from those traveling to and from the beach.

I was captivated by this secret garden.

I’ve been told since then that people who have lived here for awhile know of this place well and weddings are often held there and I can see why!

Hidden in Ormond

That day I realized I want to be like that park. I want beauty to be hidden within me for others to find much more than I want it seen on my face. There is nothing wrong with outward beauty but it’s just that… outward. It doesn’t tell others who I am. It doesn’t show my love for Jim and the boys or Jesus. It doesn’t allow you in to the deepest part of me, the part where hope, love, and joy find their home. Inside is where faith and love create beauty.

Sure I love to look beautiful on the outside. I loved looking beautiful on my wedding day but it wasn’t long after my gown came off that Cinderella turned back into a wife and Mama with messy hair and flip flops, because flip flops are just who I am on the outside.

In the morning as we prepare our outer beauty lets consider what we might do to help our inner beauty shine through. Who can we help today? Who can we serve, even in the smallest of ways? Who needs encouragement or a little extra love? Shine and share the love that is deep within you!

 

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Happy 2nd Anniversary Grace and Giggles!

When I started Grace and Giggles two years ago I did it entirely in fear but also in faith. Faith that my husband wasn’t wrong about this and faith that if I honored God with it he would bless it. While Grace and Giggles isn’t huge, it is a safe haven. My heart is shared here freely as often as I want. I have been stopped by several to tell me how much my words have helped, affected them, and some even have helped them. I am so humbled and thankful for this! That means my prayers are coming into reality that He is in this project and blessing each key stroke.

So, what’s next?

Well, Grace and Giggles is now graceandgiggles.com! And! Grace and Giggles got its own Facebook page that will go live about the same time this post is posted. Please go like and share the page. Sometimes you have to listen to wise teenagers and trust that they too are prayerfully guiding you when they say “You need to get a Facebook page and take Grace and Giggles from private to public”. So, thanks Zack for your wisdom, talent, and encouragement. Click here to go to the Facebook page. All updates for Grace and Giggles will now be shared through that page.

Jim and I(he more freely and less reluctantly than I) have agreed that it is time for me to throw fear to the wind and start working on a book. No details on that other than to say it’s happening. Stay tuned. Pray for me. Pray for my family that I don’t drive them insane through this process.

I am standing on 2 Timothy 1:7

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Let me be honest here: fear has been the thing holding me back. Self-esteem is not my strong point, but I am blessed with a family that loves and encourages me. Who reminds me of what I know on a daily basis, who somehow don’t freak out on me when I am weary of such a big idea. Who pray with me and for me in this season-in all seasons.

So…here we go!

For Your Christmas

He came, not as a flash of light or as an unapproachable conqueror, but as one whose first cries were heard by a peasant girl and a sleepy carpenter. God tapped humanity on its collective shoulder, “Pardon me,” he said, and eternity interrupted time, divinity interrupted carnality, and heaven interrupted the earth in the form of a baby. Christianity was born in one big heavenly interruption.-Max Lucado

Christmas is just a few days away now. The kids are out of school and anticipating all the festivities. Gatherings of all kinds are going on around the world this time of year. Everyone celebrates differently, some celebrate the Hallmark holiday produced by the Coca-Cola company while others celebrate the birth of a Savior, Immanuel, God With Us.

Yes, God is with us. Rest in us. Give us peace. Assure our weary hearts that while we may feel lost, lonely, or unsure you are right next to us just longing to be known. The holidays are hard for many. The ache of missing lost family members is brought to light during this time of year, but maybe that is the point: Jesus, the light of the world also brings peace and comfort. He experienced loss and suffering so extremely in his 33 years. He knows our sorrows and feels our pains. He mourns with us, but he also promises for better. Much like earth was not his home, it’s not ours either. Be patient and considerate to those grieving this season. Welcome them in and give them a warm place to rest their weary hearts. Be safe. Show the love of Jesus to the broken.

The innkeeper turned away not only a carpenter and his young wife but salvation. I am sure he was busy, overbooked, and really just over the whole census deal. So by the time evening rolled around, Joseph knocked that poor innkeeper was done. No room anywhere, not even his heart for his Savior. Do you have room for your Savior?

Last evening Noah, Jim, and I were watching the Santa Claus part 1 and 2 together. In the midst of Laura (the Mom) and Neil (the step dad) talking about how they stopped believing in Santa because he didn’t bring them the thing they most wanted, Noah chimes in “sounds like an awful lot of ungrateful people to me”. Our actions and reactions show our gratitude levels. The gratitude-o-meter is simple: what is the first thing you say after someone gives you something? What is the first thing you do after an amazing moment happens? Do you give thanks? We all have so much to be thankful for, even when we don’t realize it. Even when life seems unbearably hard we all have something that brings us even the smallest measure of joy. A child’s smile. You’re spouse’s laugh (I love when Jim laughs at his own jokes, it makes me happy). A bowl of spaghetti (because that’s Noah’s love language). A quick note of encouragement from a friend. Or maybe a simple random act of kindness. Kindness blooms joy in it’s wake. Like a dandelion seeds, kindness flows into the hearts receiving, joy erupts, and an opportunity for more spreading arises.

Personally I think any day, ever day is a good day to spread kindness but if you are not generally of the opinion that kindness is worth sharing on a regular basis then maybe you could consider the holidays to be the time to show some love (kindness). No shocker here but Jesus showed kindness daily; really he showed the ultimate kindness on the cross, but good news! You don’t have to do that too, He took that one off your to-do list. Go share some kindness!

Lets be Jesus to the world this holiday. Share His love. Offer His patience. Make room for Him at your table.

From my family to yours…. MERRY CHRISTMAS!