Tag Archives: women

A Little Coffee and A Lot of Jesus

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A Little Coffee and A Lot of Jesus

 

The coffee pot was sputtering and the smell of the rich brew was beginning to fill the house. The temptation to pour a cup was only slightly overcome by the urgency of a deadline nearly met. I tapped at the keyboard, finishing the email and clicked the send button. The familiar swoosh was the horn that signaled break time.

There was a tap at the back door; I shifted the laptop and rose to greet my expected guest. As I did, I remembered that she introduced me to the joy that is drinking coffee.

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More than forty years ago, I sat at her kitchen table. “I was about to make William and I a spot of coffee”. I had never learned to drink the stuff, but I added lots of sugar and cream and it became part of our ritual.

I certainly was around coffee all of my life. I have vivid memories of holding my mother’s tupperware-pitchercoffee as she drove us to the junior high school. The plastic two cup measuring cup, made by Tupperware, was likely the largest container she could find. It was way before the days of travel mugs, and it sure didn’t have a cute monogram, but it was mostly functional. I loved the smell of her coffee, although in retrospect I know it was mixed with smoke from her Pall Mall cigarette. I suppose it would have been nearly impossible to drive with an open spouted measuring cup brimming with coffee and a cigarette. I’m forever grateful that she chose to have me hold the coffee.

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I opened the door and there she stood. Slightly bent and already apologizing for interrupting. “I have been looking forward to this! It’s my lunch break – come in and sit. The coffee is on” I responded.

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We were a young couple they knew from church. It didn’t take long for us to figure out that they were the sort of folks who always had an open door. While he taught my young husband to finish drywall, I often popped in to see her. She made the best bologna sandwiches and I was a young mom who loved being served, even just a simple sandwich.

She moved around her kitchen with the fluid motion of a dancer; it seemed that she truly enjoyed serving her family and friends.

I watched her deal with a rebellious teenager, which was a terrifying thought to my young mom heart. I learned about adding another potato to the pot to stretch a meal for unexpected guests. She was always matter of fact; it is what it is, she would day.

In hindsight, we always stayed too long but they never let on. When the evening began to wane, she would always say “You don’t have to leave – we’ll hang you on a nail!” They were kind and hospitable; they loved Jesus and we knew for sure they loved us.

As our family grew we spent less time hanging out at their house, but we always remembered (at times a bit sheepishly) their kindness and patience in dealing with our immaturity in life and matters of faith.

When our nest was empty, we began reaching out to young married couples; the value of investing in the next generation had been modeled for us. While times had changed the basics were the same; open doors, food and freedom to share were all that was needed to fill a living room with couples.

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I pour the coffee; hers black and steaming hot, mine still laden with cream and sugar. She settles in at the table and we chat for a bit about books and crafts. She never arrives empty-handed. She always has something to share, whether it is the “other half” of a loaf of bread or a treasured knick-knack that “just looked like you”.

She’s a widow now; she’s buried a son and today she lives half a mile from my house. I marvel at God’s grace; the gift he has given us to celebrate the relationship that started at a kitchen table over a cup of Folger’s coffee all those years ago.

I love to sit across from a woman who has traveled the road ahead of me. Our conversation always shifts to God’s faithfulness. We confess our frustrations and fears and there are sometimes tears. Unwavering faith in God and his sovereignty does not remove the sting of loss or the heartache of disappointment, but there is great comfort in shared burdens and joys.

He built us for relationship; it is in the communion of our hearts that we remind one another of his promises and his faithfulness. Who has invested in your life? And where, my friend, are you investing in the next generation?

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So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come. Psalm 71:18 ESV

Grace to you,

lorraine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday Greetings from the Future Me

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Oh, to reach back in time and speak to my fifty year old self…there are some things I wish I could have known. Maybe you are in approaching a big milestone birthday. Go ahead, eavesdrop; I’m good with it.

Welcome to your fifties, girlfriend! You just completed an amazing period of your life. Appreciate it; you were in your peak! In case you need a recap, your forties were eventful.

Perhaps you found your dream job. By now you are beginning to realize that, but hang on because you are going to love it even more!

Or became a grandma and occasionally when you were out alone with the cherub people thought you were the mom. You are rocking the grandma gig.

Your nest may have emptied. You discovered the joy of long walks and occasional suppers on the sofa. Life was less demanding and you had more time to build your marriage and pursue your passions.

Of course there were some hard times, but bless your heart, you grew through them because they revealed the cracks and flaws. It was an awakening; you paid attention. You experienced the sorrow of loss…of people, things, and maybe even a dream or two.

You learned that life is fleeting and precious and you moved forgiveness way up to the top of the list of your first responses. You discovered that the greatest gift you can give yourself is the forgiveness of another. There is so much freedom in letting go!

Here you are, a new decade stretched out before you. You are anxious. You’ve seen hard and scary things happen to women in their fifties.

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In spite of your public declaration that you are middle aged, you privately reckon with the harsh reality that not many live to be one hundred.

All of the over the hill jokes are now in your own backyard and you are not amused. And the truth is – your body might just be showing some signs of age.

One Friday night you will be scrubbing the sink like a boss and you’ll hear a strange pop. The searing pain in your shoulder must be related, but how and why?

You will spend the next six months and way too many of your flexible spending dollars on specialists who will tell you it can’t be fixed. The indentation in your shoulder where a muscle used to fire is the new normal. For the first time, you hear the phrase “When people get to be your age….” Get used to it.

One Sunday morning you’ll be strutting down the preschool hallway, slightly over confident because some sweet young momma just mentioned your grandma hotness…and you’ll turn that cute wedge sandal over and break your foot. Just like that, you go from cute wedges to an orthopedic boot. You’ll think to yourself “Six weeks. I can do six weeks.” No one warned you about delayed bone growth after fifty. For the record, THREE MONTHS.  IN THE BOOT.  But you rocked that boot, sister. Walked all over Disney World, pushing strollers, because MAGIC. And because you are more determined than ever to prove that you can.

One night as you prepare for bed you’ll take a long look into the mirror and realize you are gazing into a face you don’t recognize. She has wrinkles and a few gray hairs are peeking out around her ears. She looks familiar, alright, but more like your mother than you. And you’ll resolve to smile more because you have great teeth. And use sunscreen.

Yes, the next decade is going to introduce some new challenges, but there are so many good reasons to embark on it with joyful hope:

  • Grandchildren. You are going to be smitten, my dear. You are going to rearrange your life for these little ones and you will love every minute.
  • Menopause. You will move from always being cold to fighting the urge to disrobe in public to escape the fiery furnace of your body in a hot flash. Don’t worry, though, by the time you are sixty they’ll be mostly over. And no more monthly visitor; trust me, you won’t miss it!
  • Wisdom. You prayed for it in your twenties. As a young mother you read every related Bible verse and even tried clicking your heels together while reciting said verses, hoping for it to come. Soon you’ll discover that wisdom was not so much a gift to be received all at once; rather a package to unwrap. With each ribbon loosed, bit by bit it is yours.
  • Courage. You will try new things and stretch yourself for no reason other than knowing that you can. Your dreams have a shelf life. This is the time to run after them.
  • Opportunities to invest in others. Volunteer, mentor, and serve. You have more to offer than ever before.

If I may, just a little advice from the wiser side of the decade:

Be kind to yourself. If you judge yourself harshly, you’ll be tempted to mete out the same to others.

Get honest with yourself. Do you really want to run a marathon? If you do, get after it. If not, stop beating yourself up and set some realistic goals.

Celebrate. You won’t regret choices to carve out special moments with the people you love. When a friend wants to have coffee after you’ve changed into your pajamas, for the love, put on some yoga pants and go. When that grandson wants to talk to you about Minecraft or Star Wars, remember that you’ve listened intently to many adults who were far less interesting.

You are alive for a reason. No one knows the sum of our days but God. Go forward with confident hope, my dear, for your Lord has prepared you for the days to come.

“Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a Godly life.
Better to be patient than powerful, better to have self-control than to conquer a city.
We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.”
Proverbs 16:31-33 NLT

It’s a beautiful day for a launch!

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Launches are exciting events.  I grew up in Central Florida in the years of President John F. Kennedy’s expansion of the U.S. space program.  I watched as the Friendship 7 carried John Glenn 162 miles away from the earth.  We could stand outside and see the trail of the huge rocket as it slipped away from the bonds of earth’s gravity!  We were all on pins and needles awaiting reentry. Nearly five hours later the country let out a collective sigh of relief as the capsule landed in the Atlantic Ocean.  At seven years old I had no idea where the space program would take us. There were skeptics, of course. I even heard that some didn’t believe it happened. But those dreamers…they took the first step and fifty years later there is a manned space station orbiting the earth.

For years, really since ninth grade, I’ve had a yearning to write.  A teacher expressed that I had talent, and it touched a deep place in my spirit. Fast forward many years when I began to put some words on paper.  It was challenging, yet cathartic, this process of writing. I wrote a few articles for a church-sponsored inspirational column in the local paper.  It’s a little embarrassing to admit that I read them over and over, even though I didn’t even get a byline.  Something that I wrote was good enough to publish! To be honest, it is more likely that I was willing and they needed 250 words to fill the space, but it was enough to rekindle the yearning.  Some of my favorite authors have blogs. The short posts are often humorous, inspirational or even instructional and I decided that is the arena for me to step into this venture.

Recently our small group at church studied the book The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson.  For the first time, I shared my dream publicly.  I began to pray and prepare to leave “Familiar” and begin the journey toward my “Big Dream”. The most profound realization was that God is the Dream Giver.  How foolish would I be to miss his gift to me?   With this post, I’m launching MY dream.

So, what to expect from this dreamer?  I’ll be writing from my heart about being a wife, a mother, a friend, all from the perspective of a woman seeking to know Christ in his fullness.  I’ll be sharing about my Tribe – the women who surround me with love, who allow me to speak into their lives and do the same for me.

I’m strapped into the seat and with this post, the engines have fired and I’m on the way!

Thanks for watching the sky, my friends.  I’m enjoying the ride!

“Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.” Psalm 139:16 MSG