On the evening of Thursday, March 30, 2017, Michael (Mike) Tomlinson passed away at Smith Animal Hospital in Perry, Georgia, after a very brave and patient battle with illness and old age. Private burial followed on Oakhill Drive.
Maybe I’m not the only one who has had lifelong struggles with various things- with circumstances I’ve asked the Lord to intervene, to fix or make better, or to equip me to bear more graciously. But the answers don’t seem to come, despite years and years of praying and working.
But I continue to pray, and then I proceed to try to fix them myself. Continue reading “Are you asking too much?”
My grandmother saved everything! This is actually a good thing for me. She had an amazing, adventurous life, but I never got the opportunity to really get to know her “in person” because she lived far away from us (she lived in metro-D.C., we were in Georgia). Our visits with her were few, and she passed away when I was six. So the only way I have been able to really know about her is through all of the interesting things she saved.
One day, as I was looking through a box of her old report cards from grade school, I found this handmade Valentine she had saved. It was given to her by a friend named “Edith.” It’s on an old piece of card-stock, written in pencil, so it is very faded. It isn’t dated, but it was with other items dated as early as 1910. She would have been twelve years-old at that time.
The card reads:
To My Valentine
“The red hearts take without return
The green with envy always burns
The blue are cold and small
The gold ask nothing but gives all.”
The hearts are obviously hand-cut and are threaded on a piece of string. Since there is not a gold paper heart, I have always imagined that there was a charm threaded onto the string, perhaps a heart-shaped button. Of course, the charm is something I have concocted in my head and was not necessarily the case, but it warms my heart to think there was a sweet gift that went along with the card.
Whatever the gold heart was, whoever Edith was, this Valentine has been kept safe for a century or more- a sign of enduring friendship, a friendship my grandmother obviously felt was as valuable as gold.
As I have gotten older, I have learned that such friendships are very valuable. I have also realized that I have wasted a lot of years waiting for such friendships to come and find me. Now, I have come to understand that I am to be the gold- the person who asks nothing but gives all. I think it’s quite an honor that “Edith” valued my grandmother as that kind of friend. I hope I can live up to that same standard.
In the months approaching this half-century mark of my life, it has come to my attention with increasing frequency that we do not get any do-overs when it comes to the time that we are given to spend this side of eternity. And, I will admit, I waste a lot of it. I don’t like looking back over my days and taking stock of how much time I’ve spent in my chair scrolling Facebook or online shopping sites. Or even worse… getting caught up in Candy Crush.
My overarching goal for this downhill stretch of life is to be much more intentional with my moments and my days. Continue reading “A Life Well-Lived”
This simple poem has a powerful message for me. I hope that it will encourage your heart, that it will help you to understand the depths of the love and grace and goodness that our Savior has for you.
“Let the Stable Still Astonish”
Let the stable still astonish:
Straw-dirt floor, dull eyes,
Dusty flanks of donkeys, oxen;
Crumbling, crooked walls;
No bed to carry that pain,
And then, the child,
Rag-wrapped, laid to cry
In a trough.
Who would have chosen this?
Who would have said: “Yes,
Let the God of all the heavens and earth
Be born here, in this place”?
Who but the same God
Who stands in the darker,
Of our hearts
And says, “Yes,
Let the God of Heaven and Earth be born here—
In this place.”
Poem by: Leslie Leyland Fields
It’s easy to get the wrong impression about all this Christmas stuff. Watching round-the-clock sappy Hallmark Christmas movies, being mesmerized by inspirational Christmas stuff, lulled by the crackle of the fire, the smell of peppermint and other spices, the sweet sound of jingling bells…. None of those things is what Christmas is about. Continue reading “Advent: Bursting Your Christmas Bubble”
Tuesday, December 20 (Suggested Reading I John 3:1)
Every year around Christmas time, one of my favorite things to do is to make homemade marshmallows. They are fun to make, relatively easy, they taste really good, and many people find them to be a fun treat. On the downside, they are pretty messy, and they rarely turn out like the perfect cloud-like squares I always envision them to be. Continue reading “Advent: Love and Marshmallows”