Post Card Response

If you have been following the 31 day series, then you know I have been receiving post cards from October.  You also know that I mentioned that my sister is taking some of the days.  Her days have a twist.  She is showing travel related photos for us to caption.

Please join her today over at Tanguera Beth to see her blue sky picture in response to yesterday’s post card.

To see all posts in the series click here

Sharing in grace,

Teresa

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Prompted By Forgiveness

Today’s post on Forgiveness, is the last in the Write 31 Days series, Prompted to Write.  My first post in this series was about my mother, so it is only fitting that I end the series with a post about her.  If you have followed along, I hope you have enjoyed the journey and I hope you have extended grace on the few days I missed or gave you a bunch of pictures.  I will continue writing going forward, but it won’t be every day.  I hope you come back and please leave a comment to let me know you were here.  God Bless!

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Forgiving and being forgiven is a wonderful thing.  When we live in fear that we aren’t forgiven it weighs heavily on our spirit.  Likewise, when we have an unforgiving attitude towards others it kills our peace.  I’ve been on both sides of that coin and I remember the relief I felt when I realized I was forgiven and also when I was able to extend forgiveness.  It definitely lightens our load.

I was reminded recently of the gift of forgiveness when I ran across a letter my mom sent me years ago, long before the Alzheimer’s began to set in.  I had felt the need to write her and ask forgiveness for a time in my life when I felt that I had broken her trust.

We were living in Florida at the time and so I wrote her a letter as I have always preferred to write down what I want to say in order to make sure I say what needs to be said.  And, also because sometimes it is easier to hide behind the pen rather than talk directly to someone.

I’ll never forget the day I received her letter in the mail offering forgiveness.  The tears flowed and I realized that her love for me was stronger than any sin I could commit.  When I read the letter again, just yesterday, it still brought comfort to me and it reminded me that she has always loved me unconditionally, and does so even now, on days when she barely knows who I am.

Mom, right before I was born.  I was a winter baby.
Mom, right before I was born. I was a winter baby.

In her letter she used an acrostic of my name and the word forgiven to write out her message.  I’d like to share her words with you:

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With those words she offered me hope and she reminded me of one who loves me even more than she.  I thought of her line that said “intense moments of pain cannot destroy that love,” and how that is true of Jesus’s love for us as well.  Our sin caused him intense physical pain as well as intense emotional pain. Yet, he still went to the cross for us.  Even now, as redeemed children, we still cause him pain when we ignore him or doubt his power to forgive.

Won’t you join me in accepting the fact that he loves us unconditionally and we can never out sin his love.  1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

We don’t need to live under the bondage of sin and guilt. If we are in him, then we are free.  My mother ended her letter by saying, “A contrite spirit is always rewarded with God’s forgiveness and healing.”

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Healed by grace,

Teresa

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me, with normal ears…

PS – if you are wondering about the “ears taped securely in place”  it is a well-known fact in our family that my mother taped our ears with small band-aids when we were babies so that when we rolled over they would not get bent, thus avoiding ears that stick out.  Does this really work?  Who knows, but our ears did not stick out…

Prompted By A Psalm And Hills

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

 My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

 The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.

 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.

 The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

 The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.  Psalm 121

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I pray that you are looking to Him for your help today. May you find rest in your weary, peace in your worry and strength in your weak. He will preserve you for evermore.

Resting in grace,

Teresa

For the complete 31 Day series, Prompted to Write click here

Prompted By A Sunday Afternoon Drive

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This is definitely my time of year.  I can not soak up enough of the color that is in the air and on the trees.  It has prompted me on a couple of occasions to wax poetic.

 

Still

100_3774.3“Winding Roads wrap around my soul like a scarf splashing orange and red Autumn. 

Fiery hues consume me and lift me up to blue heaven. 

I soak in the peace and am grateful for His art and how it hushes me. 

Hope breathes still.”  

TLH

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I ask my husband every year to keep October as open as possible so we can bask in the glory of the season.  He tries, but usually still books too heavily.  Yet, we manage to squeeze in drives here and there.

This past Sunday, late afternoon, we made one last trek to gather up what was left of the color near Cave Run Lake.  It was a gorgeous day and I snapped a few pictures as usual.  I thought I would share them with you today.

My camera simply cannot capture the magnificence of God’s paintbrush, but it will give you an idea of the beauty that abounds in my neck of the woods!

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MY OCTOBER “The wind sifts through the trees, harmonizing with the trill of a bird, not yet gone south. The nearby creek thunders through the woods with a mighty roar. October leaves dance, swaying from green to gold, dipping into amber and orange, blazing fire red against a scrap of blue sky that hovers just above the stately mountains. The sun warms the crisp air and I sigh contentedly from my perch on the porch rocker knowing that at last My October has arrived.” TLH

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Wrapping color in grace,

Teresa

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For the complete Prompted to Write Series that is part of the Write 31 Days of October. click the button to the left.

Prompted By A Girl’s Day Out

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I love getting together with friends for an outing.  My friend, G, lives in Ohio about an hour from me, so once a month or so, we plan to meet halfway for lunch, shopping, but mostly talking!

We love to throw some words around and let them bounce off the walls and back in our faces.  We can hold our own with the best of them. We talk about everything – food, religion, politics, teaching (we were both former teachers), former students, husbands (mostly ours), family – no topic is off limits.  And we don’t have to agree. We are free to have our own opinions.  But, if we can make the other see our point of view that’s okay too!

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It is a beautiful friendship that began twenty-two years ago when we both started teaching at the same small private school.  Being two of the three middle / high school teachers that year, we were together often (the other teacher was a man and put up with us).  Naturally, we would meet at the end of the day to compare notes.  Then, there was the conference that we attended where we were roommates along with my mother, who also taught at the same school that year.

On that trip we really bonded.  It wasn’t long before we started getting together with our husbands for movie and pizza nights, or going out to dinner or shopping.  We always talked up a storm while still keeping focused on the movies.  We’d give our opinions and our husband’s would just shake their heads.  Her husband started calling us Siskel and Ebert.  I’m pretty sure we could have given them a run for their money. Siskal and Ebert that is, our husbands have no money.

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We never tired of each other’s company and luckily for us, our husbands really liked hanging out together.  It was sports that brought them together (UK Basketball and Cincinnati Reds).  We have many happy memories of spending time at their place or ours.

Then, we had to move and break up a good thing. 100_3742The friendship didn’t break, just the amount of time we could spend together.  We’ve moved a lot, but over the years we managed to stay in touch.  When we’d be home for Christmas or in the summer we’d do our best to find a time to go visit them.   And, we always picked up right where we left off.

 

You can imagine our excitement when we knew we were moving back to my hometown in 2012. This meant we’d only be an hour away from them and could start having adventures again.  They could come here and we could go there and we could meet halfway.

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When we meet halfway we have progressive dinners.  We meet at restaurant number one for dinner and stay as long as we dare without getting dirty looks from the waitress.  This can be up to three hours.  We make sure to tip well to make up for the extra time.

After dinner we may go shopping at the Dollar Tree, big spenders that we are, and then we’ll go to restaurant number two for dessert, where we’ll again stay as long as we dare.  After which, depending on the time and our mood, we may move on to restaurant number three and have something to drink, or a snack if we’re up to it.

One time we hit Sonic around 10 pm for drinks and tater tots and we stayed until midnight. The guys made friends with the manager who seemed to enjoy our company and he didn’t mind at all that we were using his restaurant for a meeting place. So we were cool. Another time we went to their house fully intending to come back home the same evening.  At two in the morning we were still talking and watching movies; we decided to stay and crash in their guest room.

We love this friendship because we can totally be who we are.  There is no pretense or judgement.  Just love and acceptance. I’m pretty sure they feel the same way.  We thank God for them.

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This past Saturday G and I met halfway for lunch at a sweet downtown restaurant on a brick-lined street with wonderful old buildings. The leaves were softly falling and made a satisfying crunch under foot.

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We were early for the lunch crowd so had the place pretty much to ourselves for awhile.  We talked and remembered and shared from our hearts.  When the waitress asked if we wanted dessert (they sounded so yummy) we decided we’d walk around downtown, hit some shops and then come back for dessert.

Which we did. We found a wonderful quilt shop with beautiful fabric.  No, we don’t quilt.  She crochet’s and I write. We browsed through a wonderful little consignment shop and made a few purchases.  We walked around and peeked in windows.

Once, as we were walking,  I happened to look down and right there in the middle of Second Street was my husband staring back at me from a display window.  Well, not my husband, but his picture. 100_3737.2jpg I did a double take.  It was a display to announce a night of music in honor of volunteers, in which my husband is on the musical line-up. I can’t seem to go anywhere without him crashing my girl time.  Just kidding, sort of. He did crash a girls night out one time with another friend which is another story. Anyway, back to the walk.

100_3739.3jpgWe walked around and I took pictures of buildings and streets and steeples, then we made our way back to the restaurant for dessert.  Yes, it lived up to the expectation of yumminess.  Turtle Cheesecake and Reese’s Peanut Butter Pie.  We ate as much as we could, talked some more, then, we hugged goodbye and went home, all the better for having had a girl’s day out.  Thanks, G, for being my friend and loving me in spite of me.

In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and sharing of pleasures.  For in the dew of little things the heart finds it’s morning and is refreshed. ~~Khalil Gibran

 

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Loving my friends in grace,

Teresa

 

This is part of a 31 Days series, Prompted to Write, in which I write about the ebb and flow of life in my day to day living.  Please click the banner below for the complete series in this series and for more information about the Write 31 Days and others who are writing as well.

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Prompted By Worship

Yesterday my husband led a congregation from his hometown in Worship.  I was privileged to be a part of that service.  Because it was truly beautiful worship. We were welcomed with such love and kindness.  Peace was felt within those walls.  Heaven came down and the chords that rolled off those ivories was simply stunning.

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Rocky will be the first to tell you that the music belongs to God.  It is a gift and he has always known this truth.  He has studied, taken lessons and practiced more hours than we would ever be able to count and it shows.  Clearly, it shows, but it is only because God has given the tools and provided the means for him to be good at what he does.

Last year he fulfilled a lifelong dream and graduated with his DMA in piano performance, and although he has the honor of having Doctor in front of his name now, it’s not a title he flaunts.  I will however, tell you about it because I am proud of him, but not just because he received his DMA.

I am proud of him because he is one of the most Christ-like people I know.  He is humble and kind to others.  He shares his gift from the heart.  He shared with me that as a young man, even before he became a Christian, he knew he wanted to use his music for God.  And he does.  He has used his music to minister to others in many churches, nursing homes and senior centers as well as weddings and funerals.  He has used his skill to teach others.

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When he plays it is like getting a glimpse into heaven.  I’ve seen how God uses his music to touch the lives of others. I’ve seen people moved to tears when he plays. I’ve seen faces light up when they hear a favorite song.  I’ve watched as families look to each other and nod their heads when a certain song is played. I’ve seen the comfort his music has brought to those suffering.  I’ve felt the presence of God move through a room full of people with such sweetness that you just wanted the doors of heaven to open.

I’ve also seen the generosity of others in supporting his ministry and it is truly humbling to know that they believe in what he is doing.  They recognize that he simply plays and allows God to have the glory.  Yesterday, after playing with such passion and beauty, he ended the time of worship with My Tribute.  As I listened to his fingers play the notes with such feeling, the words of the song, written by Andrae Crouch, came to mind and I couldn’t help but think what a fitting song to end with, because I know that Rocky knows that all the glory belongs to God.

The glory of God was evident in yesterday’s worship.  Many people mentioned it on the way out the door and over lunch.  For me, to sit in such a sweet space and to witness such beauty in worship and to see how God was using my husband to minister to us, was truly a wonderful awe-inspiring experience.

It reminded me, once again, of my sense of place in the world and how God is the author of where that place is.  Yesterday, it was in a church in a small town being ministered to by my husband and being reminded that it is all because of the blood of Jesus.  Nothing But The Blood Of Jesus. (click the link to hear him play)

Staring out over Cave Run Lake Sunday afternoon after the concert.
Staring out over Cave Run Lake Sunday afternoon after the concert.

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 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10-11

Worshiping in Grace,

Teresa

Click the banner for more in the Prompted To Write series.

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Prompted By The Nester

This Weekend Toss post is part of a Write 31 Days series hosted by The Nester.  Today I was inspired to take some impromptu pictures of vignettes around my house.  The Nester’s theme this month is Vignette Me so who better to be my inspiration for noticing the vignettes all around my home.

You can right click any of the images and open in a new tab to see a larger version.

Blue glass vignette in the kitchen.  You will  notice the roof of my little dilapidated garage showing through the window behind the blue bottles.  The blue vintage sugar and creamer set was a gift from my cousin.  The windows were found at antique shops.  the white ceramic vase with blue flowers in the bottom, middle photo is from Slovakia and was a gift from my sister when she lived there.
Blue glass vignette in the kitchen.  You will  notice the roof of my little dilapidated garage showing through the window behind the blue bottles.  The blue vintage sugar and creamer set was a gift from my cousin.  The windows were found at antique shops.  the white ceramic vase with blue flowers in the bottom, middle photo is from Slovakia and was a gift from my sister when she lived there.

 

Music Room vignette.  1.  Looking through the doorway to the left of our small entry into the music room.   2.  Chairs in the music room, with blue pillows, stained glass window and open door on the book hutch that found me.  3.  chair by stained glass window, softened for effect.
Music Room vignette. 1. Looking through the doorway to the left of our small entry into the music room. Yes, I have a cows head hanging above the door.  She needs a name, any ideas?   2. Chairs in the music room, with blue pillows, stained glass window and open door on the book hutch that found me. 3. chair by stained glass window, vintage mirror hanging on door.

 

Vignette in the Living Room - Collections on Shelves: room - crocks, books turned backwards, bow ties from a friends estate and match boxes from my Dad's collection
Vignette in the Living Room – Collections on Shelves: crocks, books turned backwards, bow ties from a friends estate and match boxes from my Dad’s collection

 

Sweet Vignette in the living room of found objects: pink leaf dish (I heart leaves), sweet little birds, depression glass lid that has lost it’s container, pretty embroidered scarf, basket with doily and mirror ball.
Street Roll Vignette. Why yes, I have lived on all these streets! I decided I needed to embrace all the moves and give them a place of honor.  I like to think that our adventures in moving have taken us down roads less traveled, hence the title of my street roll.
Street Roll Vignette. Why yes, I have lived on all these streets! I decided I needed to embrace all the moves and give them a place of honor.  I like to think that our adventures in moving have taken us down roads less traveled, hence the title of my street roll.

 

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105

Sunday Vignette: Reading lamp, table with Bible and devotional book.  You can see my blue bottle tree through the window.  The lamp is not my normal taste, but it came from the estate of a family friend, so I keep it for now.
Sunday Vignette: Reading lamp, table with Bibles and devotional book and a copy of A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman. The lamp came from the estate of a family friend. You can see my blue bottle tree through the window. Also part of the house next door.

What kind of Vignettes do you see in your home? They are practically everywhere if you just look for them.

Vignetting in grace,

Teresa

Trees and Roof-line Vignette across the street from my front porch.  See? Vignettes are everywhere.
Trees and Roof-line Vignette across the street from my front porch. See? Vignettes are everywhere.

Click the images below for the Nester’s Vignette Me, Prompted to Write, or to check out other Write 31 Day participants.

The Nester who inspired me to check out my vignettes.
The Nester who inspired me to check out my vignettes.
My 31 Day series
My 31 Day series

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