Life finds its way.

 

Little acts of kindness which we render to each other in everyday life
are like flowers by the wayside to the traveler:
they serve to gladden the heart
and relieve the tedium of life’s journey.
– Eunice Bathrick

 

I feel like that tulip bulb – resting in the dark, waiting for the day when it’s time to break free.

But, some days, I also feel like the tulips in the flower bed just outside our front door this year. They burst through the moist soil and loose mulch, full of promises of early spring color…only to be disappointments, every last one of them. Duds.

 

They were planted with care. They were given moisture and what I thought was enough sun. They were loved and given lots of gazing attention.

And they were still disappointing duds. Lots of lessons in that picture…here’s the lesson for me today.

Maybe it is this season of no words that is producing no flower, no bloom. Reading in Luke today, I was reminded that fruit doesn’t determine the tree, but the tree determines the fruit. My daily actions don’t determine my heart’s condition or my life’s direction, but my heart and life condition determines my daily actions.

“A good tree doesn’t produce bad fruit, nor does a bad tree produce good fruit. Each tree is known by its own fruit. People don’t gather figs from thorny plants, nor do they pick grapes from prickly bushes. A good person produces good from the good treasury of the inner self, while an evil person produces evil from the evil treasury of the inner self. The inner self overflows with words that are spoken.” – Luke 6:43-45

Funny thing. Jesus hit it home when he said “the inner self [heart] overflows with words that are spoken.” So maybe, just maybe, right now as I am resting in the dirt, surrounded with protection from that which could harm me, as a tulip bulb lies dormant and protected from the squirrels and other creatures that seek to uncover it, maybe I should be grateful that my heart is protected, that deep down in the dormancy, I am still grateful and counting every. last. thing.

I need to remind myself that the words I speak are never meaningless. I’ve heard this a few times over the last week when someone on the news shared, “I didn’t mean to say that.” “I misspoke.” My deeds, my thoughts, my attitudes are part of my daily actions – my fruit – but the words I speak and write often reveal my fruit, my character, as well.

And, I need to remember that the words I leave unspoken also convey a message…loud and clear.

So, as I wait in the quiet, I will be grateful for the protection of silence and for the opportunities that are every day to offer a little kindness to a traveler needing a little peek of flower in order to relieve the tedium of a mundane journey.  I can choose to be a disappointment, or I can choose to poke through and begin to bloom, right where I am.

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I feel like a tulip bulb.

image

Dormant. Full of potential. Not much to look at. Ready to bloom but stuck in isolation. Fat. Behind the times since all the other tulips have already bloomed and beautified the world.

Dormant. It’s what I feel these days of no words.

But I will remain grateful to the One who planted me where I am. I will be grateful for the dirt that surrounds me, for the water that He is giving to me, for the hope that comes only from Him, that one day soon, I will bloom.

A lullaby for the soul.

I am grateful for:

  • a Chamber of Commerce day when the sky is blue, the breeze is slight, the temperature is just right, the birds are singing, the flowers blooming.
  • good water pressure in a hot shower.
  • no words.
  • Oreos.
  • a coin found on a walk.
  • forgotten sweet memories when they come to mind once again.
  • really good dirt.
  • a glowing report from the school counselor.
  • Fresh Balsam room deodorizer spray from Bath & Body Works.
  • the conviction to “be still my soul.”
  • children who just make the world a better place, like Macey:

 

 

  • peony buds and blooming iris.

 

  • watching the Royals with one of their most loyal fans, my Dad.
  • a handwritten thank you.
  • Pink Lady apples sliced thin.
  • designs in the sky, courtesy of jet trails.
  • stiff jeans.
  • being asked to play the piano again.
  • the patterns of freshly mowed grass, as satisfying as vacuum lines on carpet.
  • a good cut and color.
  • a soft and beautiful lullaby that calms and ushers in peace.
  • crisp, in crackers, potato chips, and $2 bills.
  • memories of baby books, a wedding album, my french horn and piano, a butterfly quilt, boxes of school papers and crafts, Mom’s china, and collections of school musicals and programs of the past.
  • a bed at the end of a long day.
  • the back yard that is full of wildlife.
  • happy mail.
  • Nutty Bars.

And I am grateful for contemplation, something I have been doing a lot of lately…

The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

I am grateful that Karissa shared this today:

A person’s sense of self worth is often based on the reactions, positive or negative, of those around them. So your words and attitudes can literally build them up or tear them down.

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8 NLT

I am grateful that my world in this season of life is filled with verbal love letters.

I am grateful for a phone call from my daughter to share wonderful news that the panties and sheets were dry this morning, and success made it all the way into the target! Gotta love a little girl who knows how to hit the target.

I am grateful for Chinese chicken with vegetables.

I am grateful for open window nights for sleeping.

If you love someone, tell them. Life is too short.

I am grateful that we are members of a church that serves, that provides, that loves, that is intent in its purpose.

I am grateful for a flexible work schedule.

After hearing sadness from a Dad who feels like he is lowest on the priority list and his invitation to celebrate his son’s birthday was turned down, I am grateful for the moments I have with my Dad and do not want to ever miss an opportunity to spend time with him.

Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost. -Kahlil Gibran

I am grateful for a baseball team that brings much enjoyment into our home.

I am grateful for our small group friends.

I am grateful for a beautiful yard with healthy green grass, pretty flowers, and trees full of singing birds.

I am grateful for a guarded tongue, however not always present inside my mouth…

Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.

Boys are gross.

Have you ever cleaned a toilet after little boys have occupied the room overnight? Less than 24 hours. I am not joking. I lifted the lid and about gagged. How can it be that they cannot hit the target? Multiple times?! Multiple places?! It is a LARGE target. They are not lanky and tall and far, far away from said target!

I am grateful for toilet bowl cleaner and paper towels and a toilet bowl brush and disinfecting wipes.

I am grateful for Moms and Dads of little boys who apparently have much more tolerance than I.

I am grateful for Moms and Dads of little boys who are patient to take the time to teach accurate aim and appropriate “after care” of the toilet area.

And I am grateful that I had girls. Just sayin’.

Random gratefuls and not-so-gratefuls.

I am grateful for the question, “How are you doing?” that prompts more than a “Fine” answer. I am grateful for people who show love by asking, “What has been going on in your life these days?” and then they fully listen. Most times, you won’t know if you don’t ask…

I am grateful for the end of the week. I am brain tired.

I am grateful for intricate patterns in flowers.

It used to be that the children were expected to put the kids in the car and drive to see grandparents, because it was expected, and because holidays were not holidays unless the grandchildren were with grandma or grandpa, but in the age of busy, it seems that has changed, and grandparents must be the ones to load up and go visit the children. As I age and see my Bingo friends so lonely for their families and any sign of love from their children, grandchildren, and great grands, I am beginning to relate. For that, I am not very grateful.

I am grateful for money in the bank. Temporarily, but at least it’s there.

I am grateful for good ketchup. Especially from a squirt bottle that then decorates curly fries in a basket from a greasy diner.

I cannot tell if these women are so busy they forget, or if they are mad at the world and do this on purpose, or if they have another odd reason for not pressing down on the handle, but I am not very grateful today for women who leave their business in the toilet to marinate and bless those who enter the room.

I am grateful for really good quotes that are worth copying and pasting at a later date so that someday I will read them again and think, “Wow, that’s really great insight.”

If a man does not make new acquaintances, as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man should keep his friendships in constant repair. – Samuel Johnson

I am grateful for anticipation of rain.

I am not very grateful today for emotional pain. It just pretty much sucks…the happiness out of me.

I am grateful for naps and wish I could take a long one every day.

I am grateful for time spent with my CASA girl. I so look forward to seeing her…

I am grateful for three little boys and a s’more’s night on the patio. If grandchildren are not available, find substitutes.

I am grateful for the simple beauty of shiny metallic gum wrappers.

I am grateful for a surprise lunch with Sam, and for his presence this morning, and even though it wasn’t so necessary, it was nice to feel loved and cared for.

I am not very grateful for dilation via eye drops. Once was enough to make me not ever want to return.

But I am grateful that God loves me, even when I complain and have cloudy days.

Trust Me in every detail of your life. Nothing is random in My kingdom. Everything that happens fits into a pattern for good, to those who love Me. Instead of trying to analyze the intricacies of the pattern, focus your energy on trusting Me and thanking Me at all times. Nothing is wasted when you walk close to Me. Even your mistakes and sins can be recycled into something good, through My transforming grace.

While you were still living in darkness, I began to shine the Light of My Presence into your sin-stained life. Finally, I lifted you up out of the mire into My marvelous Light. Having sacrificed My very Life for you, I can be trusted in every facet of your life.

U2. Who knew…

I did.

And if you didn’t before, U2 now, too. 🙂

I am grateful for this unorthodox group led by this nonconformist guy who goes by the name of Bono who sings Psalms and talks about following Jesus and is not at all the cookie cutter ho hum but speaks his mind and shares his faith and looks nothing like me or others who would typically turn off those who are seeking answers and seeking grace and seeking Christ.

I am grateful that in my lip biting, sleepless night, punch in the gut moments, I cling to the Rock, I sing a new song, I trust in the Lord, and I am grateful for every. last. thing.

I am grateful for the reminder of this song today in my church devotions, taken from this scripture that I know so well, that I have held on to in my darkest moments.

Psalm 40:1-3 (CEB)

I put all my hope in the Lord.
    He leaned down to me;
    he listened to my cry for help.
He lifted me out of the pit of death,
    out of the mud and filth,
    and set my feet on solid rock.
        He steadied my legs.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise for our God.
Many people will learn of this and be amazed;
    they will trust the Lord.