Mother-Daughter Discoveries

When I was a young mother of three, I thought I had life all figured out. Katie, our middle child, loved baby dolls. I imagined she’d grow up, get married, and one day become a mama.

After she married, life brought some surprises.

It always does, doesn’t it? 

You think you know exactly how things are going to turn out, and then everything changes. 

Katie experienced infertility and divorced after almost eight years of marriage.

Tough times.

Unexpected twists and turns in the road.

She remarried this past February.

A couple of weeks ago, the two of us met at PF Chang’s for my birthday.  She gave me a beautiful scarf and bracelet. “They came from Altar’d State,” she said. “It’s a new store at the mall. After lunch, I’ll show you.”

Nothing on the outside looked much different from other stores.

Inside Altar’d State, scenes from Katie’s childhood came to me. I remembered her playing babies–the white picket fence desires of her heart.

“Isn’t this cute, Mom?”

“Yep. Looks like something you wore when you were little.”

“Did you know I got my second wedding dress at this store?” she said. 

Second wedding dress.

My heart skipped a beat, and we both smiled.

I never thought life would go this way. 

Then I spotted gifts that bring hope–crosses and candles and bracelets.

This sign below says: “You are loved for the little girl you were, for the special woman you are, and for the precious daughter you always will be.”

“Leave it at the cross.”

 

When there are unexpected curves in the road, God is still around the bend, offering Grace. Click to Tweet
P.S. Katie’s now a stepmom to a precious three-year-old girl!
Has your life ever taken an unexpected turn? What happened?
Love,
Julie

An Old Purse–A New Me!

My sister Jennifer has the gift of organization. She can simplify and beautify anything. Not me. Take our purses, for example. Last week, we went to lunch. I was driving.

“Will you hand me my sunglasses? They’re in my purse.” I cringed.

So much junk, it wouldn’t close. Ahhhhhhh!

“Where are they?” she said.

“They’re there somewhere. Just keep looking.”

My purse was totally out of control. I hated digging through it for my  YMCA pass, my lipstick, a pen–ANYTHING! 

Jennifer dumped out my bulging makeup bag, an empty pack of chewing gum, and a handful of wadded receipts. Her gray leather envelope of a purse lay neatly at her feet.

“How do you get by with such a small purse?”

“Simple. I only carry what I need.”

This idea intrigued me — freeing myself up to only carry what I needed. My shoulders wouldn’t get tired. I wouldn’t get annoyed trying to find my wallet. 

And the word SIMPLE. 

My word for the year. 

Jen said “simple.” 

Perhaps this went deeper than my purse. 

Sometimes I carry thoughts that clutter my peace. I can be too sensitive. Someone says something that hurts my feelings and I hang on to it. 

But could I possibly change? I’d had a messy purse forever. Could I toss unnecessary stuff? And thoughts too?

Maybe a small purse would help me remember to keep life simple.

 I  found a tiny one in the back of my closet.

And said goodbye to my old heavy, burdensome bag.

I got rid of all manner of clutter–cuticle oil, Band-aids, a broken nail file,

And decided to keep only useful things, 

And useful thoughts.

I even found a nifty spot for my YMCA pass. 🙂

The new me! 🙂

With God’s help, daily, I’m being made new!

This song sums it up beautifully, especially the “lay down your burdens” part. If you can’t see the video below, click here.

Do you have a neat purse? I bet so!

Are there any heavy thoughts dragging you down? Lay down your burdens! Let’s get freed up together! 

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

Suddenly Spring?

“Time changes tomorrow,” my husband said at our porch party Saturday morning. “I need to take down the white Christmas lights.”

Sometimes I resist change.

Hearing his announcement about daylight savings time, I felt a little unsettled. Out of sorts. It seemed I was late for something important and needed to hurry and catch up.

Weird, I know. And irrational.

Maybe it’s because we’re racing toward spring, and I’m not ready to say goodbye to winter.

And the lights were so beautiful.

I remembered how they looked when it snowed a few days earlier.

Almost magical.

I felt caught between winter and spring–like having children at home and then adapting to an empty next. “Why don’t we just leave them up all year?”

“Because time’s changing. More daylight hours. And if we never took them down, pretty soon, we wouldn’t even notice them.”

Later that day, I walked around the porch and spotted signs of spring.

The wreath tied with pink ribbon.

My rain boots.

The dwindling stack of firewood.

The rabbit under my grandmother’s old table.

Something occurred to me–

A few days ago, I’d noticed a thin layer of ice in the bird bath. The same day, daffodils on the side of the road waved.

Ice and daffodils. 

Like a van Gogh painting, the last hint of gray winter softly blended with the pastels of spring.

Maybe this transition helps us surrender the past and anticipate the future. 

And maybe God, in His mercy, often eases us into the next season of life.

Have you ever felt this way about time changing? Life changes? Family changes?

What season are you in right now?

Love,

Julie

 

 

Seeing With My Eyes And My Heart

I had no idea a new pair of glasses could teach me a life lesson. Last week, I decided to get progressive lens — a fancy name for no-line trifocals. My first pair. I kept losing my readers. When you advance to progressives, you don’t take them off and on.

Picking out my frames, I texted pictures to my fashion savvy daughter.

 

After a bunch of “MOM, NO!!!” texts, I finally chose the pair on the left.

 

Friday night, I was so excited. My new glasses were ready. I slipped them on in the store. Ta-dah!

Then I tried to walk. My hands got clammy. I thought I might throw up. “Feels like my head’s stuck in a fishbowl,” I said to the saleslady.

“Point your nose toward what you want to see. The more you wear them, the quicker you’ll adjust.”

Adjust? To walking and moving my head? “How long does it take? A few hours?”

“Anywhere from a week to a month. Don’t shift your eyes, honey. Turn your head.”

This is ridiculous. I shouldn’t have to change to see.

As I baby-stepped to the door, she called out, “Look down when you step off the curb.”

I didn’t trip walking to the car, but at home, I bumped into plenty of things.

The first two days, I considered asking for a refund.

And then on day three, I remembered the saleslady had worn progressive lens. Maybe she knew what she was talking about. I decided to follow her instructions.

Eureka!

By the afternoon, I became Alice in Wonderland. I noticed what kind of birds were at the feeder, tiny drops of rain, and even dirty spots on my  cabinets. Because of my stubborness, I almost missed out.

To experience a new way of living, I had to:

1. Listen to the truth.

2. Trust someone who knew more than I did.

3. Let go of my old ways.

Anyone working on changing? I understand. I hope this helps.

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Praising on the Patio

I didn’t grow up celebrating the seasons changing, but at three o’clock this past Friday afternoon, an idea tiptoed in. Something stirred my heart as I read my BFF’s blog about decorating for fall–a thought very different than my predictable self.

Every morning, my husband and I have porch parties, his idea. What if I shook things up and we had a patio party that night?

I called him. “Will you pick up some vanilla ice cream? We’re having a fall party tonight!”

“Who’s invited?”

“Just the two of us.”

By the time he got home from work, a wreath hung on the door, hotdogs were roasting on the grill, and I’d tried a new recipe for dessert.

 

Apple Pecan Crumb Pie

 

 

He lit the tiki torches and umbrella lights he’d bought to celebrate summer. 

 

After supper, we turned our chairs in the same direction and ate warm apple pie and ice cream. Listening to the crickets, we welcomed fall as we watched daylight softly fade into night.

Then I had an aha moment.

Celebrating for the seasons means more than shopping, cooking, and coordinating colors.

It’s a way to love others and worship our Creator.

#876 in my gratitude journalWatching the nighttime sky together. 🙂

How do you celebrate fall? And life? And those you love?

~Apple Pecan Crumb Pie~

(I added pecans and used gluten-free flour.)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped pecans

4 apples, peeled and thinly sliced

Mix above ingredients and put into a greased pie pan

Mix below ingredients and cover apples with the mixture:

1/2 cup flour (I used Pamela’s gluten-free Pancake and Baking Flour)

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes

“My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Ps 121:2 NAS

Love,

Julie

 

Hope Rushes in at Just the Right Moment

My husband and I always start our day out rocking on the front porch together. One morning last week during our Porch Party, I tucked the red fleece blanket around me and glanced at a particular tree near our house.

The scraggly tree looked like how I felt. Its bare limbs desperately reached toward heaven.

Kind of like me.

I’d been praying about several situations and nothing seemed to be changing.

Where are you God? Hello? Do you see me down here?

Two days later, we were driving down a street near our house. To my left and right, I spotted the first sweet promise of spring–new life blooming in our neighbor’s Bradford pear trees!

Right now, I’m staring out my loft window.

The same tree in my front yard still looks pretty hopeless.

From where I sit.

But when I look closely at the picture of it, through eyes of faith, I can barely see the faint outline of tiny buds beginning to form.

I guess they were there even in January. Sitting tight. Waiting on just the right time.

Maybe it’s a good thing some trees bloom a little earlier than others.

And some trees surprise us and dress in their finest later in the season.

A few of you have asked for prayer.

I’m praying.

May His answers arrive in His perfect timing, and bring Him glory.

Love,

Julie

From My Heart to My Toes

Last week I got a crazy idea.

Why don’t you try a new color on your toenails?

I’d never ventured from two basic toenail polish colors–something in the cinnamon family or Cherry Red. And always clear for my short fingernails.

Don’t be afraid to try new things.

But I have red hair. My choices are limited. No oranges. No pinks.

Let go. Live a little.

Toenail polish color shouldn’t have been such a big deal, but it was. I asked the young girl behind the counter at the nail salon which color she’d suggest. She studied the bottles of polish on the wall.

“I like this one for you.”

She chose hot pink. Neon pink.

“You’re kidding. I don’t wear pink. Especially hot pink.”

“You should try it.”

I handed the polish to my manicurist. She smiled. “Good color.”

As I put my feet into the warm bubbles, she took a phone call. I tiptoed across the floor and swapped the scary hot pink for safe Cherry Red.

She ended her call. “Changed your mind?”

Something seemed to gently insist that this was about more than nail polish.

“Okay,” I said. “Go with pink.’

As she swiped electric pink on my big toe I almost said, “Never mind. I don’t like change.”

Aha. The truth.

By the time she finished foot number one, I knew one thing. The color made a bold fearless statement. A smile started from my heart. “I love it!”

“Don’t be afraid of the unknown,” God seemed to say. Looking at my feet, I remembered the scripture from Psalms 139:1 (ESV). “O Lord, You have searched me and known me!”

If He knows me, surely I can let go and welcome change. The unknown. Even risk wearing pink.

Is God calling you to something new today?

Love,

Julie