Five Things A Field Trip To A Mexican Restaurant Will Teach You about LIFE

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I am amazed at where and when I learn some of the most important truthes.

How God can take  and use the mundane, gray, ordinary. Turn it into a way to grab hold of the eyes of my heart.  Hold firm to my jawline in love and say “See this, right here.”  I love you too much for you to miss it.

How sparks of sweet knowledge fly off the life pages, there.  In the everyday.  In the messy, the plain, the simple. How sparks of knowing and seeing shoot out and turn the head like walking into a firestorm of shooting stars.

Life is messy.  Life is loud.  People are hurting.
I sit and catch up with an oldish friend.( She is  a decade younger so its not she that is oldish, it is this thing in our life which is a friendship). We have done life together for quite awhile but we often go for long periods without having heart chats.  Linking up and digging deep.

But in the middle of the loud and the messy, over the guac and the chips I hear the remarkable.  I hear about God’s love lately in her life.  I sit with what feels like one hundred loud high school students buzzing around us  and press in to hear about her son. How God is doing a loving work in his special life.  The waitress buzzes, the kids are rocking the place with their energy, but God’s mark on his life in the last few days is soft and sweet and deep and wide. One special teacher choosen for one special child.  An amazing choreography in this dance of life–connecting two, partnering up a child with one to walk through life as friend, mentor, teacher guide for a long season.  He loves so deeply, this God of ours.

I am changed in the knowing.  My Faith gets a re-boot.  As she Mom- proud raises her ipad to the table and shares the pictures of him running the good race, then standing on the podium at the Special Olympics, I glimpse a mother’s heart hard at work navigating through life, seeking the best always for her precious son.

Life is unorganized.
There are three of us now.  Talking, sharing, remarking, reviewing, observing life and our children and how crazy this field trip scene appears in its many facets of planning. How they move from Point A to Point B and all the logistics.

But I know now that what seemed like an excessive amout of time away from school was carved out for fellowship and community.  I know that their hours and their days lived out in the halls can be burden.  Can wear heavy mundane.  Can stiffle in the routine of the everyday.  But change the scene and joy pours out like notes from a saxaphone all happy wafting out, inspiring and infusing music and grace notes on the pages of their day.

I know that long expanses of time where we feel stuck and caught are really times to capture community and catch up in fellowship with each other, on life.

Drowning happily in story and shared experience. Freeze framing life, capturing it in one still-frame on one Monday in the middle of messy living.

Life is learned outside of books.
I know that they are learning about sixteen.  They are learning how to order in Spanish and pay the bill too.  But they are learning more I know it about friendship and fellowship.  Because it was there in all caps and all bold.  The things we learn when we heart listen to others.  The sad and the happy, the joy and the pain come out off the shelves when we listen.  When we invite.  When we ask the life story to come tell it all.

Life is best lived when slowed down and there is no agenda.
She calls me from school to co-ordinate my coming on the field trip and I grumble.  Who eats lunch at a Mexican restaurant at 10:30 in the morning.  I pass on a complaint to a child, allowing her to be exposed to my disease, its contagious, of grumbling, whining.  Not a proud parent momment, this, in hindsight.  But when there my heart delights in the energy.  It catches the happy and the smiling while chip dipping and straw sucking diet coke.  Where in the world would I rather be than smack dab deep down in the middle of salsa and chips and children on a Monday morning

Because we can count now, on a couple of fingers, the time that they are here now with us.  We discuss SAT and school and college and futures as Dentists and all such.  And I look with one eye at the Joy of these girls. They were there at the Special Olympics cheering, they were there in pre-school a yesterday ago, they are here and this is now and it is raw and real. This group, these girls, becoming women soon.  Learning Spanish and much more right here on a Monday.  And it smells like spicey, mexican restaurant Grace.

Agenda robs, and steals, and obfuscates the present. And who doesn’t love chips and dip and fellowship all cozied in on a gray day at a long table of giggling girls with their happy spread from one end of the room to the other.

I hug and say good bye and that I must press on down the very short to-do list.  By my design, I keep them short now.  It must be an over 50 charachter trait.  But I leave and I take giggly Joy with me.  And I smell all day like the memories built here with friends, with teenagers, in the middle of a very long lunch catching up on three of  the most important things in life– community, friends, and matters of the heart.

And Counting Gifts, this Monday, with Ann @ A  Holy Experience.

*for running into a friend on the beach.  Catching up and hearing how a gift I gave her years ago is still being used.  How our lives intersecting in the past was a good thing–for us both.  Realizing how I am the blessed one to have had her and to re-connect.

*time on the beach with The Patient One to bask in the sun and just be

*an email, sweet so sweet, from a friend of a friend who was sent here, to check out this blog.  Unexpected Grace on a Monday.

*News of improving health for college man-child and counting the days until he is under this roof again, for a short season.

*Sweet projects around this nest that I am dreaming of, inspired by a big project and garden undertaken by The Patient One over the weekend.

*Laughing often at a new blog I have discovered.  I will provide the link soon.  She is fun, she is funny, and she is passionate about life and the Lord (its contagious).

*New friends

*Old friends

*A month of birthdays and celebrations for people I love.

*A summer plan coming together


Two Bloggers, Two Salads, and A Two Hour Lunch (This is Grace)

This is Grace.

I know a woman who walks out grace, with grace.  Shelly Miller of Redemption’s Beauty a beautiful blog which I follow.

And you will read more of her beautiful story there.

But this is a story of her grace shown toward me, a new blogger.

We sit in a booth and we swirl words around.  And  thoughts go off into places of shared passion.  Sentences spiral around salad about being women and mothers and bloggers.

She laughs a contagious laugh.  It springs up from way down and lands in the between  us.  Warm covering the time like down comforter, snugging in for a two hour stay. She and her story delight. How she came to write in a most unexpected way.  Her story of hearing story because she invites story to come out and play and feel free  She invites and the sharing begins.

Her eyes twinkle with joy as we sip from our straws like girls at the pharmacy counter after school all cherry coke and faux leather swirly seat. And I soak in the wonder that is her life’s story of teaching herself about life. Of digging deep into a thing and come up with the knowing.

We laugh about carving out time and finding balance in our lives.  And she answers some questions and leads me to places she knows I want to go, with words about words.

She is a picture for this blogger/woman/mother/wife of beautiful redemption and of taking a daily step, in brave faith. With faith so bold and strong. Of perservering much and living abundantly. I can tell you many of Shelly’s beautiful stories of redemption.  They are beautiful but they are hers. And she tells them with a striking loveliness and tenderness each time she writes.

We lose track of time a bit and startle when we see the hour.  The time that was spent.  Grace is like this.  It invests in others.  It grants patience and gives out. It explains simple things to beginners who stumble on their way.  It answers promptly and plainly and calmly.  It doesn’t judge the knowledge gaps or hold on greedy to self.  It shares what it knows and embraces a fresh start, a new beginning. This is Redemption’s Beauty.

Grace takes us to a moment that is simple and sweet and covered in community.

Givers give selflessly and abundantly.

Givers of time, of grace, of encouragement.

They place self on the shelf extending a hand out and down and to those who need a word.  Or two.

And you know we discussed grammar and typo’s and sentence structure and books.  Oh yes, the book “The Element of Style” was in the mix. As was “Writing Down The Bones.”

But this two hour lunch was a thank you with a giving woman who has much to give.

And she has much to say about redemption.

Because I sat with Grace and looked Grace in her glistening green eyes, I know even more about redemption today.

And blessed am I to share with you a story of embracing, encouraging and extending the gifts we have and the gifts we’ve been given.

And to pass on the encouragement to you to use your gifts to bless others in family, in friendship and in community.

Thank you Shelly for sharing yours and blessing others.

We Need A Play Date Pronto

How did He know?  How does He always know.  The longing of our hearts.  The intricate wish lists written faint with the flesh tone Crayolas of fear, on the sketch pad of our innermost parts.

Encouragement comes like stumbled upon treasure at fragile times of longing.

When the heart is downcast a bit, and circumstances feel dull and bland like gray day dreary, the one who lifts us up, sends special people to the threshold of our lives to do the heavy lifting.

An encourager with a word or a phrase like cool aloe gel on burning skin, soothing the soul.  Cooling damaged skin.  Healing hurt from the day out under the day sky of life.

Yesterday I sat in a place of need.  Those small stinging word nettles penetrated the heart.  The ache of the empty sat for awhile.

Need sat pregnant.  Waiting.  Expectant. Unspoken desire for the call of a friend. For fellowship.  Knowing that I too could be the one to ask.  But sometimes we want to be extended too.  After tender bruising we want to be nursed back to health by sweet restorative Love.

And  Grace walked in early and as I press in to my firsts this morning of this new day and week a friend sends a text  that spells out my name, including my Maiden, and then I miss your face with an adjective injected about how she sees my face, one any woman would blush over, and then “We need a play date Pronto. xoxo.”

Called by name.  Called out to do life together.  An invitation to sit across a table and just be. Speaking right into the middle of my hollow need.

We sit spell-bound by a nature-show about a tribe of people who eek out an existence in  icey Antarctic region. Everyday a challenge to hunt and gather enough for survival.

We hang on every word, eyes fixed on the screen as a nylon rope is used by a few friends to tether a man to themselves.  Then they lower him over the side, with care. A cliff side of rock is his hunting ground for gathering eggs.  Nutrient rich eggs to mix up the diet of his people. And the voice adds as he gathers beautiful blue eggs from the hiding places of the rock, that many have died gathering here.  But for fifty eggs for his people, he trusts the men at the top and goes down for the needs of his people.

A beautiful picture of trust and going the distance for others.

Sacrifice for others.  Encouragement for others.  Seeking out the need of others.

In the middle of the messy and the Plan B life, in the midst of the tyranny of the urgent and in gray ordinary days we can jump into the circle of life and grab on and be.

Be the friend.  Be the consoler.  Be the friendly neighbor. Be the phone call of encouragement.

I hear him.  He tells a story that speaks to my heart in his sermon about showing, not telling.  Reaches into my insides and carves out places to implant Truth. And I too can show more and tell less.

And I  can show story here on these back lit screens that we share.  Telling falls flat and showing jumps off.  You don’t come here for mediocre and substandard telling. You come for substance and sink your teeth into meat.  Your heart doesn’t long for the dull and the gray but for life giving and life proclaiming.

So as I grow up and grow more, I long to show more of my story and His story through words.  You bless me and you are patient.

I can show you my gratitude by this.  Today I cancelled an appointment with the doctor freeing up time.  I carry a notecard today that says wynnegraceappears reader.  And today I pray for you.  I don’t know your need, but this card represents you and you have my prayers.

We need a play date pronto.  We need fellowship and friendship pronto, injected into the middle of the ordinary.  Linking hearts and lives and doing life together, not alone.  Wired for community, wired for fellowship.

So I can stop in between helping a child who is locked out of her car and helping a child who needs help with a tuxedo rental and helping a child navigate through after college graduation life and jump into community.

Shall we. Shall we circle up and around.  Shall we gather at the river and drink up life together, not alone.  Encourage each other by actions AND words.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 — By yourself you are unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.

And I am calling that friend Pronto and saying “You pick the time and the place and I will be there.”

Because I  am not going over the side of the cliff alone.  I need a strong nylon rope and strong friends.  Ones whom I can trust to love hard and hold fast.  To white knuckle that rope while I scale down the sides of this messy and crazy wonderful life.

And I will take my notecard with me today and pray for you. Enjoy your play date with your life and your day.  Make it fun.  Give Grace.  Find someone to Encourage.  You are needed by someone.

Counting gifts with Ann at A Holy  Experience dot com. Boldly thanking the Gift Giver for each one.

* Encouragers after church yesterday, several who spoke kind nuggets into my heart

*Time to talk with man-child about his after college plans and following after a potential offer of career not job with a company that is known for its love of our Lord

*spring cleaning my porch and enjoying time there alone to read and be windswept

*a text of hope from one far off who struggles

*sweet new neighbors who are answered prayer

*two going to prom on Saturday and listening to plans for community and fellowship in their world

*words softly spoken to me over the bread and wine of encouragement at the altar rail so kind so needed