Posts Tagged ‘words’

The Man by the Window

I heard a story years ago about two old men who shared a room in a convalescent home. One was confined to a bed by the window; the other to a bed by the door. Since neither of them was mobile, the man by the window would look out each day and describe what he saw below. He spoke of the beautiful park with children playing, couples walking hand in hand and other happy scenes unfolding. As seasons changed he took great effort to describe the lovely scenery. It seemed each day there was something new to share with his roommate.

At first the man by the door was delighted with the imagery. He looked forward to hearing if the young couple had returned with a baby stroller; what the weather was; or if the pear tree had blossomed yet.

As the months passed, something changed within his soul. A small root of bitterness developed. When his companion shared his observations of life outside, the man by the door enjoyed it less and less. Over the course of time he became jealous and longed to see for himself. Often he wished for the place beside the window.

One night he heard his roommate coughing. The man began to choke but could not call for help. Realizing his opportunity, the man by the door ignored him allowing him to die. After an appropriate amount of time he asked to be moved by the window. He waited with anticipation as the nurse opened the heavy drapes.

The window faced a blank brick wall.


I don’t know who wrote the story. I’ve had it tucked away for years. But I wanted to share it with you and add a prayer.

Lord, strengthen us against bitterness and jealousy. Help us find joy and bring pleasant moments to those around us, no matter how hard life gets. Strengthen me personally to be more like the man by the window.

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord my strength and my Redeemer.” –Psalm 19:14


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I think this big pot of flowers is kinda pretty. Sitting on my front stoop it dresses up an otherwise nondescript landing. At a glance it looks rather refined in the large stately planter. Upon further review one might discover that the pot is actually plastic. The faux cement urn is a stately planter wannabe. But I love it better than an actual antique because it’s light enough to haul around and doesn’t crack when I hoist it to the place it looks best. A plant-wise daughter commented that the purple foliage is some sort of weed I keep bringing in each winter to save on a sunny windowsill. Whatever dear. I love it.Pot

The ivy is leftover from a Christmas tree I fashioned one winter in the same planter. Twisted around an upside down tomato cage shaped into a cone with tiny lights, it looked rather elegant in a redneck topiary kind of way. Apparently even ivy must be watered for alas, my ivy tree turned brown when that small detail never entered my teeny tiny brain.

The little striped vine is Wandering Jew, or should I say Nomadic Israelite. Like its namesake it is strong and thrives anywhere it has the privilege of landing. The delicate pink flower in front is a happy little remnant of my Mother’s Day gift which did not survive the June from Hell we experienced here in N.C. A little water might’ve helped but alas… teeny tiny brain. Thankfully I pinched off a piece of the beautiful petunia and stuck it in my planter before it was eternally too late.

All these happy remnants crammed together in a plastic pot look better together than they would on their own. Some have survived harsh winters on a Southern windowsill. Others sprouted in foreign soil only to be nurtured and elevated as beautiful. Some fill in the gaps just doing what they do. Others add a unique flair wherever they find themselves.

It reminds me of home… as in land of the free and home of the brave. So many treasures crammed in a big resilient pot we call America. If only we could stop with the finger wagging and name calling. If we could look for the value in folks we might discover that we actually complement each other with all our differences.

For those who bear the Name of Jesus Christ, do we remember His charge to us? The instruction He gave which fulfills all of Scripture? You know… His top two commandments which trump all others:

Love God.

Love people.

It’s the simplest hardest thing we’ll ever do.

When haters hate and government governs and evil seems to win, our job is to love the ones we find in the pot beside us. May we follow the precious example of the families of those slain in Charleston as we purposely love. For love trumps all other Scripture. It is God’s plan and the best and only hope for our country.

What? Are you wagging your finger at me? Whatever dear. I guess I’ll have to purposely love you… which might be rather difficult.

But with God’s help surely not impossible.

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My mouth has gotten me into trouble more than once… mostly because I’m trying to be funny and something goes amiss. Two of my biggest regrets happened on Mother’s Day. As a kid, I remember making a card for my mama and putting in big letters “HAPPY MOUTHER’S DAY!” Daddy would not let that die. It got us both into hot water, although I really don’t think I was at the age of spelling accountability yet. Mama was very less than amused.

The second mishap was all my fault. Mother’s Day used to be commemorated by wearing a rose to church. Red meant your mom was living and white that she had passed away. It was a pretty big deal to honor your mom with a bud. We’d ask a neighbor for permission to pick a blossom from her loaded bushes. One year I was especially cute… and unthinking. I came home with a pink rose and told my mom I’d wear that for her since she was always sick.

Not funny.

It makes me sad just remembering the look on her face. Funny is not fun if it is at someone’s expense.

Much later she overcame the sickness that had plagued her young adulthood. In those days asthma could not be taken lightly. Old Doc Shinn made emergency house calls to give her a shot of adrenalin straight in the heart. Times sure have changed.

Once her asthma subsided she was able to take up walking. She and daddy walked three miles each morning and repeated it some afternoons. They were very health conscious. So when a rare illness suddenly took her from us it was a terrible shock. Shortly after she passed away I went to look for flowers for her grave. She hated anything fake, so I was trying to find the most lifelike silk ones possible. Of course the prettiest happened to be pink roses. I stood there in the discount craft store sobbing like a baby.

Someday I will quit beating myself up for hurting her with my funny words. I’m sure if she could speak to me now she’d say, “Oh Lynna quitcha bawlin’! I’m fine! I feel better than ever!” … or something more heavenly.

Mother’s Day can be such a difficult time. A lady I know whose only son died, hurts terribly around this time of the year. Another friend in his sixties continues to grieve that his mother abandoned him and even though she lives near, still wants nothing to do with him. A young woman whose baby died before birth wonders if she counts as a real mother. Those of us with mothers who’ve passed on may find the sentimental songs at church unbearable. The pain for the childless woman, who must remain seated when the mothers in the congregation are asked to stand, is unspeakable. As she leaves and flowers are given to all the moms in attendance, she must shake her head, “Nope. Still not a mom.”

I don’t know the answer. Maybe there’s a way to do things differently. But how ever we celebrate Mother’s Day, let’s think a little. Maybe an extra prayer for the childless couple could be offered. Perhaps a card sent to someone the Lord brings to mind would be a good idea. Just be sure to check your spelling on those homemade cards. And stay away from pink roses.


I thought you’d like to know that the mother who lost her son battled through a very deep valley of depression. She got busy and sent out an armload of Mother’s Day cards.

The man in the story will no doubt spend the week-end enjoying his wife, grown children, and grandkids, knowing he has made a great difference in the lives of those who love him.

The young lady whose baby died will celebrate with her precious little miracle son Able, who is now a healthy three year old.

And the childless couple was blessed with two babies at once who keep them busier and happier than they ever dreamed possible.

As for me, I’m thankful to still enjoy my mom-in-law Nina who has been my “other mother” for as long as I’ve known her son. I pray that God will bless you too, in some unexpected way, especially if Mother’s Day tends to stink.

My beautiful mom on the right with Aunt Termey

My beautiful mom on the right with Aunt Termey

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My friend Tonya had a picture of an old report card on her Facebook page. The comments from her teacher read like this:

1st Report:           Tonya has adjusted very nicely to the change we made when moving to the Junior High. Tonya talks more than she should.

2nd Report:

3rd Report:          Tonya talks more than she should.

4th Report:

5th Report:           Tonya needs to rest her jaws more during silent time.

6th Report:


Poor teacher. Apparently there were no words to express her exasperation during the 2nd, 4th, and 6th, report periods.  And “rest her jaws” was the best verbiage she could muster.


Poor Tonya! All that great communication stored up and not allowed to share! Well she certainly made good use of it when she got to High School. Tonya loved everybody. No matter how cool or uncool, rich or poor, in crowd or out, she made us all feel very special: Highly unusual for the prettiest girl in school.


After thirty some years since graduation, we started catching up a little through Facebook, where I learned that she has seven daughters and a son. I bet they are just as friendly and fun as she is. And I bet more than one was called down for talking during school. But knowing Tonya, she taught them the value of friendship and care for others.


Here are a few things I learned about energetic, talkative children from working at two different schools for a total of twenty five years:


  • They always seem to have perfect attendance
  • Having them run the perimeter of the ball field with their energetic buddy, talking all the way, helps tire out their legs… and jaws
  • They are actually using their brain a thousand times more than is evident at the time
  • Putting them in charge of something helps channel some of their energy; they already know they have a lot of useful information; they are just waiting for you to get on board
  • Their project, reports, and speeches will be the most entertaining; you never know what information they deem appropriate to share
  • Their hearts are very tender
  • Time flies. Today’s kindergartener who wants a hug is graduating tomorrow. Enjoy them now before they’re gone
  • Did I say “enjoy”? Bahahaha!!! You guessed it! I’m no longer a teacher!


And most important of all, “communicative” kids grow up to make the best leaders. Think about the most interesting testimonies you’ve heard. I’m guessing that the bulk of these dynamic leaders had less than flattering comments on their report cards. Hang in there parents and teachers. God is raising up tomorrow’s leaders and teaching us patience all in one fell swoop.


Hmmm… I have to wonder what His comments on my report card will say. Probably, “Lynna needs to rest her jaws more during silent time.”


Happy Birthday Tonya! It’s no wonder 60 came so fast. Time really does fly when you’re having fun!Tonya

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The circumstances were hard. We knew the direction we took could be misunderstood. Worried that we had hurt a friend, we decided to meet and talk things out. As we sat in his office catching up on the previous months his laughter came easy. When finally we brought up issues which could have been misunderstood his reply was a balm to our hurting souls.

“No, we didn’t think that about you guys because we know your heart.” he gently assured.

Have you ever been to a balloon release where the participants let go of helium filled balloons and watch as they disappear into the heavens?

That’s exactly how it felt.

Suddenly all the hurt and misgivings and doubts were freed. My soul soared at the thought that he trusted us through the many months before because he “knew our heart.”

With just a few well-chosen words a friendship was renewed. Hearts were healed. And a couple old dogs learned a very cool trick.

Giving someone the benefit of the doubt is a beautiful gift.

Teaching about grace is one thing.

Living it is another.

Thank you Pastor Ronnie for doing both.

Dear Lord please strengthen me to practice the same.

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I met my friend Ann the first time as we waited to pick up our kids from school. Like me she had two in elementary and one in the car. We hit it off immediately, mostly because we shared the same warped since of humor. By summertime we piled the kids in the car and headed to Morrow Mountain for swimming lessons and pbj’s several times a week. We were at best a six ring circus on wheels. Make that eight counting the clowns in the front seat. Angels flew low surrounding her station wagon on all those trips up and down the mountain. Not one mishap! We won’t speak of the twenty-five mile per hour zone and the park ranger with nothing else to do. I’m sure he’s gone to Glory by now and is happily handing out tickets to all those flying past his little cabin doing thirty two.

One day I spotted Ann’s car in a parking lot. This was BW [before Walmart] so maybe it was Roses’ at the Rowan Mall or Sky City at the Towne Mall. The particulars are fuzzy. But I do remember seeing a nasty disposable diaper in the space where she had parked. Just for fun, I scribbled a note and placed it on her windshield.

“Hey Lady- Is that your dirty diaper? Don’t be a litter bug!”

Since we were rather new friends, she had no idea that it was my handwriting and was quite insulted. All manner of unpleasantries rattled around in her head. It took a while before I confessed my mischief. It’s a wonder she ever accepted me back into the beloved.

Our children are grown and now we share a different bond. We’re both Grammys. Oh the joy! However, piling the kids in the car and heading to the park takes a lot more energy. Not because we’re about a hundred years older, but now we have to deal with all those pesky car seats. Back in the day we just stacked the six kids in like loaf bread with halfhearted instructions not to kill each other.

Recently as I cleaned out my desk, I came to grips with the fact that I cannot keep everything. Sadly, stacks of cards from kind people over the years needed to be tossed. However, all of Ann’s notes made the cut. Often she has written just a small word of encouragement at exactly the right time. How does she know? Around the same time she was also going through some stuff and found my windshield note from yesteryear. She sent me a picture of it saying, “The things we choose to keep.”note

Through the years we’ve endured a lot of life. Together we’ve learned the power of friendship, encouragement, and humor. While I tend toward mischief, she leans more to the kinder side. I’m just glad I made the cut. Maybe because we are still just a couple clowns joined at the heart.

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Don’t you love the car commercials with the teeny tiny print at the bottom? If one were to jump up from one’s comfy television watching space and bolt to the screen with a giant magnifying glass, I think it would still be impossible to see the fine print. It seems that’s the plan. They don’t actually want us to read the disclaimer. It could say, “Tires automatically fall off when speeds of more than 35mph are achieved,” or “Model shown will explode upon impact and should only be used in action films.”

I’m not sure which is worse; ads like those, or the medication warnings which list everything that could happen if the drug is taken. Gross. We were having supper the other night when we were treated to a camera view inside a colon as surgeons explained the importance of removing polyps. Apparently the marketing crew for Stanley Hospital decided that would attract more patients.


But I guess that’s what we get for dining in front of the Tool of Satan.

Isn’t it good to know that the One Who is the beginning of all wisdom and understanding invites us to investigate His Word? The closer we look, the better the news. “Come listen to My counsel. I’ll share My heart with you and make you wise.” –Proverbs 1:23
The more we get into His Word, the more joy we can share with the One Who made us. Listen to this beautiful verse from Psalm 85:10 NLT:

“Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed.”

Unlike tiny indecipherable print, or gross TMI, Scripture is filled with beautiful Words of life. The sweet righteous One, filled with unfailing love invites:

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” –Matthew11:29-30

Perhaps it’s wise to check out the fine print BEFORE the wheels fall off.

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I called my daddy to tell him I was fine. No need to worry. But when I heard his voice on the recording and began to leave a voicemail, I got all danged emotional and started blubbering. Then I couldn’t fix it. Instead of reassuring him that I was okay like I meant to, I did just the opposite.

Later when I talked to him I apologized for leaving such a terrible message. “I’m sorry daddy. I got started crying and couldn’t undo the recording and start all over.”

“That’s okay honey. There’ve been plenty of things I’ve said over the years I wish I could take back.”

Talk about mellowing with time… holy cow. Now here we go again with the tears as I think of how much I love this man.

If I ever had the choice, an “Undo” button would be a lot more beneficial than an “Easy” button. I wouldn’t even mind the beeping sound of backing up the truck.

BEEP BEEP BEEP! What I MEANT to say was… nothing… absolutely nothing.

Even better would be a warning light which would indicate the wise choice for certain situations. Of course it would also need a little bell to get my attention.

DING DING DING… no words are currently needed at this time. Hold lips tightly together to restrain verbiage. Your friend just needs to be heard. He is not really interested in your opinion even though you wish to share your vast wisdom.

Perhaps a comfort indicator might work as well. Double parenthesis would appear outside the shoulders of the one in need of a hug… like this ((           )).

Or even better a big hand could float over the rear end of the person in need of correction.

“Whack soundly in this general vicinity!” it would indicate.

I wonder why God didn’t think of that.




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Just spoke to our daughter Stephanie, who is a pastor’s wife in Kentucky. Their church is a small traditional Southern Baptist one. Stephanie and her husband Jeff, are determined to help Spottsville Baptist Church be the best it can be. [Spottsville is a literal description.] She is very creative and has formed the CAMELS: Creative Arts Ministry Enrichment League of Spottsville. She must be creative to come up with a name like that. Steph is good at recognizing creativity in others and putting it to good use. Some of the Camels sing in praise groups, some cater meals, some paint back drops, some act in dramas. It has become such a success that they often put on events for much larger churches. And they have a really good time. Last year they attended a creative arts workshop in a large church and realized they were already doing the stuff they paid a lot of money to go and learn. So this year, they are putting on their own seminar to teach other churches how to use their talents well. And the crud has hit the fan… for at least two weeks now. Church people whining, and getting their feelings hurt; a former ministry letting Steph know her short comings; Secret sisters without presents; Copiers suddenly breaking down; T-shirts that take longer to print than advertised; Demon possessed computers, you name it. She’s dealt with it. Hmmmmm….. Wonder what’s going on…….  Spiritual warfare perhaps?

Nehemiah 6:17 -19 is a short paragraph summing up the experience of doing a work while influential people try to use their clout to slow or ruin a project. There’s family connection, political sway, and the last line makes me laugh. “They kept telling me what a wonderful man Tobiah was, and then they told him everything I said. And Tobiah sent many threatening letters to intimidate me.”

They keep saying , “Don’t worry, we’re with you brother!” Then somehow there’s still an underlying current of discontent. Observation: Intimidation is not a spiritual fruit. Neither is sarcasm, clout, guilt, or politics. But Satan will use anything he can to fight against God’s work. As I write this, I do not personally know of such going on. But by the time we have been praying for our churches for seventeen days, I am sure some will have their collective butts on their shoulders. That, dear friend, is a very heavy load. I know. I have borne that load before. And with all the love I have, I am telling you, “Let it go!” Do NOT allow yourself to be on the side with Tobiah.

Have you ever been hiking or checking the garden and someone says, “Watch for snakes!”? Sends a chill doesn’t it? Today that person is me. I don’t know who is ticked off, what makes them grumble, but Satan does. Stand your ground against him. Be a part of the winning team. God knows the battle we are in and He will greatly reward your efforts.

Today’s prayer:                                 Dear Sweet Lord of Heaven, thank You for understanding when we are hurt. Strengthen us to recognize the battle we are in and commit all things to You. Strengthen us against sin and help us watch for snakes. And Lord, please influence those who have power and clout and family connection to use those things for Your glory to enhance Your ministry. And help us love each other.

S’more:                  Proverbs 6:16  – A list of things God hates

Job 42:7-16 – Job prays for his friends who were a bad influence

Esther 4:13-17 –Queen Esther recognizes and uses her position for God’s people, even though it could cost her her life.

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I had a gut feeling my time on earth was up. I wasn’t even sick, just scheduled for surgery on the thyroid. But our oldest daughter was given a plane ticket here by some friends at her church so she could be with me. She’s a pastor’s wife in western Kentucky, and seldom gets to come. What if God were preparing for the worst? Then I was at the dollar store with my buddy Sue, and kicked over a stack of buckets. It’s one thing to kick THE bucket. What does it mean to kick over a whole stack? On hands and knees, gathering buckets, I knocked over a display of Halloween tombstones. Not a good sign. Everything pointed to impending doom. Better write kind things about my children and spouse in my Bible in case anyone looks in there when I’m gone.  When I spoke to my friend about my reservations regarding the upcoming surgery, she commented, “It’s one thing to let those birds fly over your head. Just don’t let them build nests in your hair.” Southern wisdom at its finest.

Circumstances cannot be ignored. They are a part of life, just like people. It’s how we react to them that mark our lives. Nehemiah 4 tells of the mockers and scoffers. It is no fun to be laughed at. Verse 4 records the reaction of Nehemiah to those who laughed and scoffed. He prayed. “Hear us, O our God, for we are being mocked…. Do not ignore their guilt….. They have provoked You to anger here in the presence of the builders.” Nehemiah believed, and I do too, that God takes it personally when His loved ones, those who are trying to build a work, are ridiculed.

Verse 6 says “…for they had worked very hard.” If you are working as hard as you know how to honor the Lord, and you hear ridicule, or even just criticism about your work, remember this: that voice is not the voice of Christ.

Verse seven says the opposition planned to “bring about confusion there.” Satan loves to bring about confusion, and he really loves to do that through those close to us. Right after the famous love chapter, 1 Corinthians 14 says in verse 33, “God is not the author of confusion,” or disorder. This verse is tucked away in the instruction about how to handle church members who all want to talk at once. Sounds like God knows us pretty well.

So today, or tomorrow, or some other day, when you hear the ridicule, plan to recognize that voice. It is not the voice of God. His voice says, “Fear not, for I am with you.” His voice reminds us, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” His strong voice whispers the words of Nehemiah 4:14, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord, Who is great and glorious, and fight for your friends, your families, and your homes!” That is the wonderful prize, you know, of church done well; Friends, families, and homes, loving and living for Him.

Today, the prayer is for victory in the battle against discouragement, circumstances, and yes, even for those close to the situation who tear down the walls. Stick your fingers in your ears and sing “Jesus Loves Me” if you must. Just stay strong and pay attention to who you listen too. May His voice be loud and clear! And may you live to tell about it!

S’more:  Exodus 14:13,14;   Hebrews 13:5-8


[Written in October 2010]

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