Sunday, October 31, 2010

Click Your Heels Three Times

Sunday Sunshine October 31, 2010
1 Chronicles 16:43 NIV
"Then all the people left, each for his own home, and David returned home to bless his family."

October makes me nostalgic. It's the color change of foliage. The nip in the air that cuts my breath in two.  Homecoming festivities. 
I miss "home."

Robert Frost once wrote, "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, They have to take you in."

At this time of year I think of my childhood home. My brother and sister still live near where we grew up in Ohio. At times it seems my childhood home is a fading memory, but I will always remember how blessed we were to be raised in a home by parents who loved us in all situations.

When I first arrived in Georgia, my marriage ended, and I had to redefine what home would look like. For two years it was a son and two cats. Then, my home included a husband, a son, and two cats.

Now, after 19 years of marriage, home includes a husband, a daughter, an exchange student, a grown son, who has moved out of the house, and 4 cats.

Through all these transformations of “home,” we have experienced laughter, tears, joy and sorrow. The common bonds that saw us through it all?

Faith, love, and prayer.
We would not have survived life without these.

Whenever we are weak in spirit, it seems family and friends step in at just the right time to lift us up and surround us in faith, love and prayer.

Our home is blessed by those who watch over us just as my parents’ home was when I was a child.
Thank you, Lord, for each family member and friend we include in this, our blessed home.

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold a Rainbow

 Brunswick, Georgia, October 25, 2007
           My Heart Leaps Up

My heart leaps up when I behold
A Rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the man;
And I wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

     --William Wordsworth

Besides the rainbow in the Noah's Ark story, the only other rainbow in literature I can remember from my childhood is one I read about in a book of poetry.

William Wordsworth's poem captured my imagination when I was in second or third grade. Although I was too young to understand the meaning of the poem, I had a sense of its importance. I never forgot it,  and it lived in my heart until, as a young adult, I revisited it and tried to understood his ideas. 

I recently discovered several comments online that interpreted his poem in ways I hadn't considered before. Clearly people can read what they want into these lines.

I prefer to think that there is a "child" inside my adult soul who still whispers wisdom to me that she learned growing up. If I ever lose touch with my "inner child" then I shudder to think how I will be able to live my life, laugh at its absurdities, cry at its joys, weep for my friends and family in times of hardship, and pray with a faith only a child can possess because the adult is too cynical or blind to see what is before her.

I don't know if this is "the right answer" for the test on the meaning of the poem, but it is an answer I like for me. I think it is the reason this poem has spoken to me for forty years of my life.
Dear Lord, thank you for the wisdom of children who see your world so clearly. Let us adults remember to embrace them and listen to them, even the ones speaking from within our hearts.

Follow the Fellow who Follows his Dreams

Coach Butler of the Blue Thunder girls' soccer team.
Finian's Rainbow is a musical with a happy ending set in the south. One of the songs that catches my imagination is "Look to the Rainbow."
        Look, look, look to the rainbow     Follow it over the hill and stream     Look, look, look to the rainbow     Follow the fellow who follows a dream.

My brother is a fellow with a dream. He can put a group of girls ages 10-12 on the soccer field together and turn them into Blue Thunder, an undefeatable force of nature. His girls in their first year of playing were one win away from making it to the state tournament.

I love to hear my brother talk about "his girls" and "his parents." He is a natural teacher and possesses a high amount of integrity on and off the field.

This first year, his team was so cohesive, that coaches from the opposing league were certain my brother was cheating because his girls could not be beaten. They surmised there must have been older girls on his team, although my brother gets his girls the same way the other coaches do, from the league's lottery system. 

Each time coaches approached him on the field, near his girls, to challenge him, his first thought was always to protect his girls from hearing the ungrounded accusations. He succeeded until one of the last games of the season. Then he had to let his parents and girls know they were being accused of cheating.

My brother, his girls, and their parents kept their grace through the storm and after each game, they went to the center line in true good sportsmanship display, to shake hands with the teams they defeated and whose coaches were defaming them.

When they lost the last game they played this season, the one that kept them from advancing to the state tournament, they stood proudly, yet sadly, on the center line to congratulate the victors on a good game.

My brother's dream is to play in the state tournament. He almost made it his first year as a select soccer coach. His parents have told him whatever he wants to do as a coach, they will follow him because they have seen the positive influence he has made on the lives of their daughters.

When we follow positive people who are following their passions and dreams, we never know how far they will take us. Sometimes it may be to a pot of gold at the end of Finian's Rainbow.
Dear Lord, thank you for the positive role models, like my brother, in the world who work with our children to teach them how to accept negative influences, victory, and defeat in life with grace.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Rainbow After the Storm

Rainbow over I-95 N Glynn County, Georgia, October 28, 2010

I had a particularly frustrating end of the day today that left me in tears as I drove home. It didn't help that a head cold has weakened my emotions and biting my tongue at the offending parties left my Irish temper looking for somewhere to simmer.  I was boiling over on the inside and hot water spilled out through my eyes.

My 13 year old daughter tried to comfort me as I drove home.  We weren't halfway there before she pointed out to me the stress relief I needed most of all: a rainbow stretching across the Interstate.

We were driving north and saw the base of the rainbow in the west rising upward to the east. I realized we were heading into a strong thunderstorm, but this time, I could see the dark clouds ahead of me and was prepared for the onslaught. I wasn't going to be caught unawares this second time.

I thanked God for sending me a calming sign as well as a warning to prepare me for the next storm ahead of me.

Life is all about conflict and the unexpected negative interactions we often have thrown at us. If we can find the calm in the storm and the beauty in the moments, then we will find a way to survive. However, that is often the challenge we all face in our daily interactions.

I have to dig deep to let go of my ego and walk away from the perceived insult and continue to do what I think is best. With God's grace, and a lot of prayer, I hope to do this. However, it is a challenge for me.

Rainbows remind me all things are possible, and even an Irish temper can be cooled.
Thank you, Lord, for your promise to lift our burdens and ease the concerns of our hearts.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Welcome to Encircled by the Rainbow

In 1988 I flew from Lexington, Kentucky, with fifty dollars in my pocket that a friend gave me, to Darien, Georgia, where I would begin my teaching career. That was the only money in the world I had. I was in a failing marriage and hoped the move south would save it. I was mistaken.

I had no friends or relatives in Georgia. The school's principal had reluctantly arranged for me to stay with an elderly woman who served on the county's board of education. The principal was to meet me at the airport to drive me to my temporary quarters.

I was nervous. I wondered how God would help me find strength to get through the many challenges I faced. I was moving to the deep south, a rural area,  from Cincinnati, Ohio, not a large city, but still a metropolis compared to Darien.

I prayed a long time on the trip south as I looked out the window at the cummulus clouds we flew over. I was gazing out the window lost in thought when I noticed the black shadow of the plane projected below us onto the white clouds.

I looked closer at a sight I never expected to see. A perfect rainbow had formed around the shadow of the plane. As we flew south to Darien, my plane was encircled by God's love and promise to never forget me. I knew then that whatever the future held, God would walk the path with me.

I hope this blog site will be a place where we can meet in God's safe arms and think about the wonders and miracles of His world.

My prayer for you today is that the Lord will bless you and keep you and hold you in the palm of His hand.

May you feel his peace and love every time you see a rainbow in the sky.