A Very Good Read

Don’t ask me why, but growing up I always thought that I was going to do something big with my life. Maybe it was due to my name or maybe it was due to circumstances in my life. I don’t know. But “big things” are not what God had in mind for me.

It turns out that my life and anything I have done of value has been built on the small things. In this day and time it seems so much like the small things don’t matter. Everything, including Christian culture, is expected to be bigger and better.  And when it gets bigger and better, it has to become even bigger and better than before.

Then I found the book Church of the Small Things by Melanie Shankle. This book confirms that the seemingly small things do matter, and that God is in it all. This book is not so much about small things in church, but all the small moments in life and how God uses them.  So many times, while reading this book, I wanted to scream out “Yes! That is it!” I have found community through this book.

Melanie writes in such a down to earth way. Even though you might not have had the exact thing happen to you, her recollections take you back to those times in your life when you realize how much something mattered that seemed so insignificant at the time. So many times while reading, my mind would wander back to my childhood and young adulthood. I remembered many of the little things that my parents did for me day in and day out. Then I thought about raising my own children, and how much the “consistency of the small” shaped who they are today.

Even though I was asked to do a blog review of Church of the Small Things, I would have done it without being asked. All of Melanie Shankle’s books are that good. If you preorder Church of the Small Things before October 3, 2017, not only do you get the guarantee of having a great book delivered to your door, you also get some great bonus items. All you have to do is go to ChurchOfTheSmallThings.com to claim your bonus.

I want to leave you with a quote from the book, but there are so many nuggets to choose from. So I’m going to leave you with parts of the ending of the book.

“I used to be a member of the Church of Big Moments….I learned over the years that it’s usually not the big moments that make up life as much as it is the small ones…I’ve learned that the best way to live is to look for God in the church of small things. The church of small things is where God does his best work. The church of small things is where the majority of us live every single day.”

 

 

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My Tribe

I sat there and watched everyone around the table. It was a good day with good conversation.

These are my people. This is my tribe. They are who God gave me.

There is strength in our similarities and love in our differences. And it all works together for His good.

 

 

The Day Before

It’s the day before. The day before the rest of my heartbeats move on to the lives they are needing to live. I know that some tears will fall, but I am truly not sad that they are leaving. I am excited for what lies ahead.

I will miss these days, though. The days of being there first hand. The days of having all my little heartbeats around me. They were good days–even the hard ones.

But just as my heartbeats are moving to the next phase of their lives, I am also moving to the next phase of mine. Just as they are navigating new things, so will I.

And it’s all as it should be.

“It’s okay” Day

Every once in a while, it’s good to have an “It’s okay” day.  A day where you break your own rules and know that everything will still be okay. They might still be hard, but they will be okay.

Go ahead, eat that whole sleeve of cookies.

Let those dishes pile up. They’ll be there tomorrow.

Read all day.

Proclaim “cereal for dinner” night.

Go outside for the sheer joy of being in nature, and ignore all that yard work that needs to be done.

Watch a movie in the middle of the day.

Read Bible verses that reinforce that no matter what you’re going through, it’s going to be okay because God already has it figured out.

Just don’t go down the slippery slope of every day being like this.

 

 

 

The Blessing

Why are we always so quick to exclaim God’s blessings on our life when things are good? When we receive material gain? When we are delivered from a health scare? Where are all those exclamations when things don’t look so great from our end?

If we have given our life to God, through Jesus, then there is also blessing in the hard. In the lonely. In the questionable. Actually, that might be where the greatest blessing is. God loves us so much that He wants to teach us things so that we can be closer to Him. So that He can teach others through our situation. So that He can teach  the world all the more about His power and love.

But it’s hard. It’s hard to see the blessing when it’s not wrapped up in a pretty bow. When it’s not what we thought. When it’s exactly opposite of what the world around us teaches.

As a parent, if we only give to our children, they won’t grow. They won’t learn. They won’t persevere. It is by letting them go through the hard that they mature. That is how God works with us. In us. Through us.

We should find the blessing during the hard as well as the good, because God is showing us His love. He is showing us His power. He is showing us that He cares enough to let us go through it.

 

 

She’s Almost Here

You just left my house as a young married wife. The next time I see you, you will be a full-fledged card carrying member of the mom club. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was getting ready to have you?

It has all gone by so fast. I know everyone says that, but you’ll see. Even though the nights can be terribly long. Even though the days of hardly any sleep seem never ending. Even though you could watch her sleep for forever. It will fly by.

So enjoy the hard days, for without them there wouldn’t be easier days. Enjoy the days where you forget to eat; you can eat later. And enjoy the new relationship you and your husband have as being parents.

As great as it all is, and as hard as it all is, one day you will look back and know that these are the greatest days of all.

 

Just Because

I didn’t love her just because she was my mom. I loved her for who she was and how she lived her life.

She was lovely and she was beautiful.

She loved God with all her heart, soul and mind.

She so very much loved her husband.

She loved her children, but not at their expense.

She loved her grandchildren and found great joy in them.

She invested her life in other’s.

She invested her life in her church.

She was caring and kind, yet firm when needed.

She was creative and could do almost anything.

She was adventurous.

She was willing to do the right thing.

Even though she is no longer on this earth, I still love her because she made a life for me.

 

 

I REMEMBER

I remember that I always knew how much she loved me.

I remember crying, as a preschooler, when I was separated from her.

I remember the grilled cheese sandwich she made me the day our dog died.

I remember her letting me pack a lunch box, just like the kids who went to school did, and having a picnic in the back yard.

I remember all of the special Christmas and Easter dresses she made.

I remember the Barbie clothes she sewed, including those teeny, tiny buttons.

I remember her frying my dad an egg for breakfast every morning, then getting back into bed–but not to sleep–to read the Bible and pray.

I remember her stopping everything every afternoon, combing her hair, and putting on lipstick to greet my dad when he came home from work.

I remember how very much she loved him.

I remember her patience with a wayward teen.

I remember her selflessly giving of her time to others.

I remember the painstaking hours she spent sewing my wedding dress without a pattern.

I remember the love she had for her grandchildren.

I remember the last words she said to me.

I remember how very much I miss her.

30 Years Ago Today

I have always loved Valentine’s Day! From old-fashioned victorian-era post cards to those adorable tiny children’s classroom cards to just taking the time to let others know you love them. I love heart shaped candy, heart shaped jewelry and anything heart shaped… I just love it all!!

When my kids were in elementary school, Valentine’s day was so much fun! I passed down my love for those little sweet and funny cards. We would sit together and have the best time signing and addressing cards to their classmates. Long after the day was over, I would still find those cards among the treasures in their room.

So it would only be fitting that on Valentine’s Day 30 years ago, a certain young man would propose to me. I remember getting a postcard in the mail from the newspaper letting me know that there would be a message to me in a special section of the newspaper on Valentines Day. I remember going to my parent’s house that morning to read this special message. Of course, they already knew what was going on and watched as I looked through what seemed like millions of Valentines Day messages until I found the one that was just for me. And there it was. “Starling, will you marry me?”  I started crying and my parents, who acted like they didn’t have a clue, were asking me what the message said. I remember finally getting to talk on the phone to my boyfriend- turned- fiancé. He was working that Saturday morning and we wouldn’t see each other until late afternoon.

I never grew up dreaming of getting married or what my wedding would be like. But by the time Chris was off work that day, our whole wedding was planned! I remember going to look at rings that afternoon. Chris knew it would be best for me to pick out my own ring. I remember the sales person being so patient with us. Then we had to go to a friend’s Valentines party that we had already committed to going. We got to share the “big news” with everyone there, and it was so fun!

So here we are, 30 years later. And, Chris, I would say “yes” all over again.