Words to live by:

"With man this is impossible, but with God ALL things are possible." Matthew 19:26

Friday, February 18, 2011

Nothing profound...A simple day

I've slipped a little in my blog writing...School (mine and my kids) is full-speed ahead, along with basketball, my job, and just being a single mom...a little hectic to say the least, but thats my life and its just fine with me. Some people ask me how I fit it all in...I don't think I'd want it any other way. I believe that if I have 2 good legs, able to get out of the bed, see, hear, breathe, think coherently, and love....then I should do my very best at all that is laid in front of me. I feel it an HONOR and a PRIVLEDGE to be able to do all that I do. I do try to give God glory throughout each of my days...He has blessed me far above anything I deserve...I simply give back only a minute part of all He gives me. Just to sit here and think about all that I have, gives me such joy. (And I'm not talking about "things")

This life is the only one I have and I want to make the most of evey day. Sure, there are times I  sit back and relax and do nothing (when I can), and I enjoy doing that as much as I do anything else. I love to sit in my recliner and take a quick nap...I love to sit in silence sometimes... I love to sit back and simply listen to the sounds around me...balls bouncing off the wall from down the hall in Reed's room...pages flipping through a book from Anna Lee's room...the dryer spinning with freshly washed clothes...a car traveling down the road...those are the sounds that I love the very most. The sounds knowing my kids are safe and sound...and the sounds of life around me...some of those sounds will quickly fade as the years go by. I cherish them. I love my children.

The weather was beautiful today...I found myself just looking outside, or walking outside... savoring the beauty God gave us to enjoy. The sunset was profound and the sights and sounds of people stirring outside warmed my heart. It seems to give a sense of joy in the air when the weather is as beautiful as it was today. I watched outside, as Reed played around with the basketball a few times, then moved on to pitching the baseball..."practicing his curve ball" he told me...chasing birds in the yard...ahhh yes, pure satisfaction. 
My desire is that more people would stop and soak in the sights and sounds of simplicity...just being still...and quiet...it's worth far more than we realize.

Baseball starts tomorrow here in the valley. It's a great time of year...the sound of a ball hitting that metal bat and fans cheering their favorite player around the bases. From T-Ball to Varsity, it's the beloved all-American Sport...there's just something about baseball that makes you... well...smile. The smell of a freshly cut field...folding chairs and sunglasses...and of course the historical valley dog...ahhhhh...what a great time of year. It really is great to be a Valley Cub.

I love the fact that poeple feel comfortable enough to just "stop by" and see me in my home. I don't mind...I eargerly invite them, with an open door policy. I saw friends throughout today...coming and going...Friends are so important. Laughter and chit-chat, tears and advice, loving and learning...that's what friends are for. People of all ages enter my home...and I love them all. They (my friends) have always been there just when I needed them most, so I feel very lucky to be there for them whenever they need me...a gentle hug, or a shoulder to cry on, sharing a movie, a walk around the block, a simple snicker together, or even a belly-aching...tear-jerking outloud laugh...it's all good.

These are only a few of my thoughts for today...nothing profound, just a simple day...but another day nonetheless.  I'm thankful.
I'll be back soon...but for now...
These are my Thoughts.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My most prized possession...A story of perfection.

I once was asked what my most prized possession as a child would be.
After pondering through the years, I couldn't think of anything else but one special "thing".

As a young girl, I would spend alot of my summers with my grandparents.
I loved my time with them both...but there was something extra special about my grandfather.
My pawpaw.
Maybe it was the fact that he thought I hung the moon...or he could "fix" just about anything...or he never met a stranger...he taught me everything he could--from diggin up potatoes in the garden like a treasure hunt, to changing the oil in that 1973 Cadillac, to trimming the hedges just right so they would grow extra hearty the next year.
     Ahhhh, I remember the day so well.
It wasn't a birthday or Christmas or anything extra special like that...it was just an ordinary day.
I walked into my "pawpaw's" house and I heard that most precious sound of him calling my name. I loved to hear him say my name with that old southern drawl...I was onlyl 8 or 9 years old at the time but I remember  the sounds and the smells of my grand-dad.
I can still smell the Old Spice shaving lotion (the kind you put on your face with a brush...slap slap slap...and then easily shave it off with a straight edge razor). And I remember the sound of my name: "Dah-rah" with that wonderful slow, drawn out southern charm...it melted my heart every time.
     I walked into the room where he was waiting for me. 
He was holding a box.
He reached it out toward me...I didn't understand at first.
I knew money was taken very seriously and it wasn't a special day to receive a present.
He said, "here I've got something for you..."
I thought, "What could it be?" My little heart began pounding with anticipation...I gently took it from his withered hands and began to open it...with great care and somewhat hesitation...
"Well, go on" he said, "open it, it's just for you..."
My heart beat faster with each tug and pull...I thought I would explode.It wasn't every day, in fact it was rare that we were given something, just because...
As I pulled open the last flap, I saw it...
I saw a shiney, sparkling, black and silver, brand new, never used...it was unbelievable---just what I wanted! I was breathless!
It was a Zebco 202 fishing reel!
It was the most beautiful thing I had ever see!.
I looked at the box, and then looked up at my grand-dad. He reached toward the box to pull the new reel out, but I grabbed him first.
I just wanted to hold him...I knew it was a special day now.
A very special day.
As I stood there embraced with my grand-dad, I could feel our hearts beating together...and then I felt... a tear hit my forehead.
It was a special time indeed,..."our" special time.
     He sat down beside me, holding.that box.
He pulled that new reel out.
It was the best!
He showed me every single part and how each part worked. He made sure I knew that it was worth a lot more than just money. "Now you take care of this, you hear? It's your's. Your very own..."
I understood. I understood exactly.
     He went to the door, with his crooked little walk, and put on his straw hat, the one that was tattered through the years, the one that had his fingerprint embedded in the rim.
I knew.
He held his crooked hand out toward mine, and as he grasped my small hand, my heart beat almost out of my chest.
This was "our" special day.
Me and my grand-dad.
    Off we went, down to the lake. He caerfully, patiently, lovingly, showed me how to put that new reel onto a "not so new" rod (but who cares about that ole' rod)...
He showed me how to put the hook onto the fishing line with just the right knot...you had to take the line around the knot exactly 8 times, no more and no less and then feed it through to secure it into a fail-proof, lifetime warranty, fish gettin' knot.
He showed me how to put the plastic worm onto that big, scary hook...a 9" green worm that would catch a monster.
He would say: "now look at this here, here..." I loved when he said that. I never understood why he needed two "here's" but it didn't matter...he was perfect in every way.
    Then he grabbed 2 woven, lawn chairs. He took them (and us) down to the lake.
He opened my chair, it was green and in good shape...he opened his, it was white but it was getting tattered  and torn through the years... just like him.
The words stopped.
He patted my seat as if to say, "sit"...and of course, I did.
He sat down andpulled his chair close to mine. 
He gently held the new rod and reel in his hands.
He clicked the button and got ready to cast...he held it just right.
He tilted it backward ever so slightly past his balding head, wearing that straw fishing hat, and with a jerk of his wrist...click, the release, and then, "swoosh", the sound of a perfect cast...
I watched as the line flew across the air, as if in slow motion, and then hit the water ever so slight, with the softest "ker-plunk".
The worm hit the water and dived downward in a spinning spiral.
It was perfection...
sitting right beside me.

It was my turn.
His gentle hand, withered and worn, put the rod and reel into my hand.
He sat back in his chair, tilted his hat over his eyes, and sat with his head resting peacfully on the top of the chair.
He looked toward the heavens, with peace, and only the sound of air breathing through his slightly opened mouth. 
He listened.
He didn't move.

I tried to remember everything I had just seen.
And then I tried...the click, the tilt, the twist of the wrist, the release at just the right moment, the line hissing through the air, and the sweet sound of the "ker-plunk" in the water.
I did it!
I jumped in the air and looked back at my "pawpaw"--- he hadn't moved...
but underneath that tilted hat, I saw a half-cocked grin...
and a single tear falling from his chin.
I just stood there.
There were no words between us, none were needed...sometimes, you just know-even if you're only 8 years old. 
We both knew---together---this was a special day.

He stood- I reeled in my line- and he took my small, childish hand into his withered, wrinkled, and worn hand.
We walked back to the house, hand in hand--- as one.
I took one last look over my shoulder at the lake behind me, and then I looked up at my grand-dad...
I looked down at his hand, embraced with mine...
I had my most prized possession,...
it was the hand that held mine...
my grand-dad's. 

This story dedicated to Ennis Shaw Earwood - "Perfection"
THese are my THoughts,

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day...the Day of LOVE! HUH?????


1. I believe this is a day set aside to boost the economy after the Christmas season.
2. I saw a man walking down the highway with a vase of flowers and a balloon...no car? no gas? but flowers...must be love...
3.  I saw way too much RED, PINK and WHITE today.
4. What are single people supposed to do on this day? Remember the good ole days???
5. So single people are destined to go into deep depression on this day?
6. So single, divorced, mom's are supposed to be content with a mere...nothing!!! on this day??? when married people and/or couples are out celebrating their great and wonderful dreamy eyed love for each other???
7. Wow.
8. What a silly day this is.
9. Can you tell I'm a little sarcastic today?
10. This is what happens on Valentines Day when you are at home ALONE, thinking about all the DATES going on in the REAL WORLD!
11. ON a good note: I did sell jewelry today for husbands to give the love of their lives...Like I said...a boost in the economy...point proven.
12.  By the way: what's a "CUPID"??? and when they shoot you with that arrow, I guess they prove that good ole' phrase..."LOVE HURTS"...

Oh well...I still had a good day! I got out of the bed, was able to walk, talk, breathe, go to a job, pray, smile, laugh, cry, hug my children, get mad, ... and... love.
Oh, and I did sneak a bit of chocolate...to me, from me...
Sorry, but not a lot of wisdom today...

There's always next year.

These are my Thoughts,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

never say, "BUT..."

I think a lot about children.
My life is dedicated in a huge part, to children...some of my best times are spent with children. 
I love them.

There were years in my life that I could've never dreamed I would devote my life and my profession to these little, mini-me's. Infact, my mind was the furthest it could ever be from something so "crazy" as this. (And those that knew me years ago, would probably be obliged to agree.)
Sometimes we never know the plans God has for our future...and as far-fetched as things may seem, He is preparing us every day, for just that...our future...in more ways than one.
                             My future would involve kids of all ages. 
It began with 4th, 5th and 6th graders...then it expanded to high-schoolers and beyond.I didn't even KNOW THAT I LIKED these sometime alien-like beings...!!!
When I think about just the mere fact that I am sitting here writing this, it blows my mind! I'm telling you, this was NOT in my plans! But boy was I wrong!
These little lives have helped get me through some of the most devastating and troubling times of my life.
There were times when I didn't know if I could get up out of the bed, but then I would think of how they depended on me, and somehow, I could put one foot in front of the other.
They needed me...or was it really???... that I needed them.
There were days I would walk into this group of giddy, chatterbox, wide-eyed little humans and my day would totally change.
I would walk in with the weight of the world on my shoulder-- literally not knowing how I could muster up a mere smile, much less "teach"... and they would greet me with that unconditional, non-judgemental, never ending love, and a boundless energy of arms would wrap clear around me. 
It was on the days that seemed the hardest, the end, too much to bare---that I would receive a special note or a hand-made card, or a tear stained face would look up at me with nothing but love to give...and all my woes would somehow disappear. My heart would melt, I would hold them as if they were mine...I would cry with them, laugh with them, play with them, act goofy with them...
shoot, I was one OF them.
I loved them.
What would I do without them.

I watched this past year, my first 4th graders, graduate from high school.
I watched as they awkwardly approached their adolescence, eagerly approached young adulthood, and then hesitantly approached the real world of responsibility and those dreaded...choices.
I've watched them go from "boys have cooties", to "oooohhhh he's so cute", to "wow she's the one I want"...I've seen little league players grow into scholarship award-winning atheletes.
I've helped them through divorces, teenage problems, first-loves, lost loved ones, broken hearts, lost pets, broken bones, life's hard-knocks, illnesses, and cancer. I've even seen a few pass from this life to life eternal.

But the thing that stands out amongst all of this as the greatest pleasure and privledge, is that I have been there when many of them have given their life to Jesus Christ...
I remember the little boy that so shyly but desperately came up to me, all alone he fought his way through the sea of laughing children and with one tear dripping off his face, said the words, "I want to be saved."
I remember holding the shaking hands of the child that "needed Jesus"...
I remember the uncontrolable sobs of a young teenage boy saying, "help me! I need Him."...
I remember holding my end of the phone, leading a desperate teenage girl to Christ (over the phone!)
I remember crying outloud with a desperate teenager full of pain from a family broken... from a heart that was breaking... from pure desperation...
I remember the prayer of a child, bowing that precious head and asking Jesus to come into their heart, and the smile on their face the minute they realized they were a child of the King..
I remember the group of girls that came to me- as one, and they all "wanted to get things right in their life" and they wanted to do it together.

My heart is warmed by the memories of singing together at camp-fires, lifting our voices loud to the heavens, raising our hands to the one most high, hanging our necklaces on the cross, coming forward one by one to light a candle on our hand-made lighthouse... pushing our candlelit testimony fish into the moonlit lake...putting together our hand painted boards to make the magnificant bridge, washing feet in the early morning hours in the edges of a lake when you could hear a pin drop, christmas plays, thanksgiving feasts,"Chic n chats", Christmas parties, incredible worship, silly little dances, ice cream faces, shaving cream hair-do's, scavenger hunts, jumping off the pier, "letting" them push me off the pier, swimming across the lake (and back), lock-ins, ice skating, and trivia games.

And then, I fondly remember one of the most meaningful moments in my life: it was during the hardest part of my life...I was going through my divorce and it just seemed like my world was crashing around me. We were at summer camp, the highlight of the year...and it was last night of camp, the highly anticipated bonfire service.
We've all felt like what we did doesn't matter, that it was time to move on, that "I" didn't make a diffference.
I was having a really hard time...and this is truly how I felt.
I had decided that when we returned from camp, it would be time for me to move on...I wasn't the one for this...I wasn't making a difference. I even took a dear friend by the hand, pulled her aside, and told her my plans...I asked her to tell no one, and I know that she didn't.
It was the bonfire service...and we were in the middle of a service that I believe was straight from God.
It's the time at camp where you are invited to stand and tell your story---what camp meant to you, how you feel about Jesus...pretty much just a time to give your testimony, share your heart...it's your turn to just be "you".
I listened with a heavy heart as I felt this would be the last bonfire service I would lead...
Person by person stood and began to share their hearts, and it wasn't long before I realized what was happening...
almost every person that had stood, and was still standing one by one...had mentioned MY name somehwere in their story...
"thank you Ms. Dara for..."
"when I prayed with Ms. Dara..."
"when Ms, Dara led me to the Lord'...
"I don't know what I'd do without Ms. Dara..."
on and on and on...
I KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt that GOD was sending me a BIG message!
                              You DO make a difference Dara!
My head dropped and tears FELL onto the dirt beneath my feet...God's dirt, I was standing on
 My heart was about to beat out of my chest...and with my heart I said, "OK God, I hear you...but..."
I should never have said it..."BUT"
...He always proves his point...
And in the midst of my tears, there it was:
(a friend of mine was leading music that night, and she stopped the service-without prior instruction)- and said something I couldn't believe...
"Dara, I hope you don't mind, but I just felt that we need to do something right now...I feel like God has told me to stop and pray for you, Dara...lift YOU up to Him...I don't know why and I don't understand it, but I want to do that if you don't mind..."
and as I sat in my tear drenched spot, I began to feel the precious, small, delicate, hands of each child as they placed it on my back, on my arms, holding my hands, touching my hair...
they were laying they're hands on ME,
they were there for ME,
they didn't even know how much I needed them!
and they were there! My GOD! This is way too much!
They began to pray, outloud, with their innocent-non judgemental-loving voices...
they were praying just for ME..
they didn't even know why...it was simply just a prayer of LOVE.
The hands of GOD were literally ALL OVER ME!!!
He was giving me one last "touch" of assurance...through those children...that I INDEED, did make a difference...
it wasn't time...
He would let me know when that time would come...
but it definately wasn't up to me.
He made that loud and clear....He's GOD, you know.

So here I sit...8 years later.
Still spending a HUGE part of my life in the midst of children...every single day.
I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams...
My life is so FULL.
I love them...and I will simply, "Be still and KNOW that HE IS GOD..."

Jesus loves the little children, ALL the children of the world...
and so do I!

These are my thoughts...