Encouragement – A Letter To A Friend

Today is Day 22. Today’s word is Encouragement. To read the collective sashay sway  shimmy  swish and swirl over here. To read others in the Series go here, to The Nester’s place.

Dear Encouraging You,

Today is your Birsday. Can I tell Webster that he has a new word for his book?

Have I told you lately that I love you. I bet I have. But I am telling you again. Beautiful you are Day 22. You are laughing that you have a day in my series.

Because you are the reason there was ever a Day One, in this writing life. And you would say it was God and I would too, but you helped Him. And we would both say He doesn’t need my help.

But you were an encourager. And you have been. The accountability partner I lean into. What richness my life has with your flesh and bones, hands and feet, lungs and laughter, heart and soul, and words and words and more words, and love rooted in my own.

You have given birth to hope and held a sister’s hand right smack in the middle of the yuck. Sweet you have had a word, a prayer, a dream and a strong arm of encouragement to grasp hold of a sinking drowning spirit.

The day I said I was done with writing. Or was it writing was done with me. Or was it I give up or was it I am through with this. You may be my memory here, but I know your words were brave and strong.

And you spoke into burying and putting under rocks things the Lord gifts.

Friends don’t let friends give up.

Encouragent reaches the long limb of grace into a life and drags it back like a mother cat moving her kittens into safety, out of a ditch.

You have shown that encouragement knows in her knower, deep in her inside places, when to speak and when to listen and when to love.

Tough and tender co-exist in the life of an encourager, the life of the precious you.

And when desperation despair dysfunction depression, an army of d’s show up, we put on the armour and together we battle, and together we stand, and together we fight.

For our lives, our children, our husbands, our families, our God. And His glory.

And there is always the beautiful. There is your lense, your eye behind the camera sharing the beautiful, calling it out, like a Southern Debutante at her coming out. Here she is, Beauty, give her her Day, present her for all to see.

When we swim upstream in a river of tears, like salmon seeking a place to spawn or float our boats down the outgoing tide of tears of joy, you encourage.

We’ve known death and life and you’ve said “though He slay me” more than once.

We’ve know some prodigal stories lived out and built trust and hope as tall as the Empire State building. We’ve cried to the Heavens and screamed to them too.

We’ve pounded the pavements and pounded our fists. And we have celebrated, because that heart of yours links up with mine and we say we have today, we have today, we have today.

There has been building homes, and nests. Designing and decorating .Hanging art and hanging out, journeying far and near. We have Glamped,we have Aqua-glamped and we  have stood against the Great Recession, sticking out our tongues, saying nay nay nay you can’t get me.

There have been literal Hurricanes and the other kind too. We have stood.

But never alone. Always with Him, three strands of a cord. Encouragement weaves that way.

And courage sits firmly in the middle and holds her ground.

Happy 60th bursday, H.  Thank you for inspiring and encouraging this sister. For walking out, talking out, and praying out this wonderful glorious life we have this side of heaven.

If you go first I will never forgive you. But if you do save a place for me. And yes I know it doesn’t work like that.

We have a lot of rocking left to do on the porch. A lot of sorting out and figuring out.

My heart needs more encouragement from you.

Thank you for showing the world how to live a life as an encourager.

Happy Birthday sweet friend. Your life is a work of art.

And thank you for encouraging me to pick up the pen and always live the highest and best, with joy and a spirit of celebration.

There are no words. And that may be the first time.(You know I know your thoughts).

Beginning your 61st year with laughter and love,

elizabeth

Counting Gifts because of Ann –of hope for a child, joy in family, praise in worship and worship in praise yesterday in church, time with family, conversations with a child restoring possibilities, expectant hearts for a birthday celebration, new writing friends friendships strengthened, new encouragers in my life, hearing my daughter’s praise music on her radio instead of the other station, watching her worship our Lord in church, hearing my son sing soft and low during worship yesterday, cold air, tough love, smiling face of my sweet friend Monica, a visit from the young man and his girl who has already flown the coop (tomorrow can’t come soon enough), their future and God’s plan, the flowers from The Patient One which still warm my spirit with their autumnal colors, life.

Joining Ann, Michelle, Laura, and L.L. Barkat

Thank you for traveling with me through this series. To subscribe click hereand we will keep journeying together.

Abundance – Life Around A Table

This is Day 15. To read the collective, that is all posts in the 31 Day Series click here. Today I am joining Amber Haines for her concrete words writing prompt.Today’s word is table.

The round, the oval, the rectangle memory builder, maker.

The dining, the coffee, the end, the side,  the row, column of data. The table.

A vehicle for feasting the soul, the heart, the mind.

In  one transformative sweep it morphs from holder of today’s bills and mail to the meeting place for high school english project. Piles of candy recharge, refuel the teenage mind, while brainstorming crisscrosses her mahogany Pledge shine surface with ideas to make the project better. More A worthy for the teacher.

And its held recreations of a Civil War battle and the solar system, glued construction paper replica, comes together where china, crystal, linen napkins share the place of honor.

She becomes the family board meeting table, hosting discussions of what went well, what bruised hearts at school this day. She, firm, steady, noble bears up under tears of joy, tears of happiness.  Tears. Holds up well during squabbles or were they full-blown fights.

She has born witness  to those who failed to  follow the family  protocol sent from her to their rooms, off to think in solitude, of how they hurt, whom they hurt. Her eyes have seen the dogs fed scraps of cold peas, stewed tomatoes remnants of the unwanted slipped beneath her.

And all the Cheerios spilled. Thrown. High chairs pulled up to her until the graduation to a real seat. Elbows on her. Nervous hands rattle silverware, ADD herky jerky knives and forks tap tap out like morse code on her chocolate brown surface. Spilt milk, water pools over, rivers of running liquids spilled and wiped, wiped and spilled again.

Like the family secrets. Spilled. The table holds the family up together while the abundance is passed, salad, bread, more than enough even in times of want. And there is pass the salt, pass your words so we can know your heart. More spilled liquids, more spilled dreams and then we move from the table.

And the every changing centerpiece of the real centerpiece of the home is this place of nourishment. The sunflowers, baskets of shells, rosemary mixed in, the gardenia and hydranga, they mark a season, mark a life.

It all is so abundant there. The way He has filled us up. The way the mana keeps on coming. Flowing.

The way a table is not needed when you grab a tray a plate and balance on your lap, serving from the table now becomes a buffet for a house full. She serves so graciously. Always ready to transform into the wooden vessel of service.

It is the departure point for life, we move from her after nourishing our bodies, minds, and souls. The side holds books, the coffee holds papers screaming a headline. The bedside holds bibles, more books.

And she has heard the voices of the High -Low game, played over her. The best of the day, the worst of the day tossed back and forth like ping pong ball over and around. Marking the day with baked chicken mashed potatoes. My high is being here with you, The Patient one says. This meal, this time. She hears confessional of what blesses the breadwinner’s heart. The being sur la table. Looks out and on his family from the head.

And she bears witness to the words of thanks for the grateful hearts creaking back in chairs, rocking back on back legs wobbly.We are grateful for the abundance. Children and friends and friends of friends. Monopoly and dominoes shuffled cards.

Blessings sung, off key, in unison, blessings spoken. Children’s easy God is Great, but for all ages, because God is Great and He is Good. And the long ones spoken by the mother while her children squirm and say the food is getting cold.

She has seen eggs died, dipped, rolled on her at the celebration of His resurrected life. And Christmas mornings too, with Luke and children’s books read. Moravian sugar cake, coffee-cake, casseroles, and carols, candles. She has heard the telling of His birth seen the bird carved up and served. Thanksgiving feasts laid in thanks with gratitude through the years.

Her memories tabled in a column in a row of data, she sees the life lined up and stacked. Life and portions served from the left, cleared from the right. Napkin in your lap spoken one thousand times or more. Mabel, mabel get your elbows off the table. Candle wax dripped, cut off with a knife. Red wine spills and stains, tears spilled and stained.

Announcements made, plans made, the best laid plans made and tabled, the discussion is over. You may go to your room. You may clear. You may set. You may be excused. May I be excused too. You may.

Bow your heads. No peeking. She could write a book.

There was the time she opened her engagement ring, wrapped in a box in a box in a box, from him, there, at the table, at her parents. And there was the time. All the time, the rhythm of the meal, no bare feet, the knife guards the spoon from the fork, its a battleground sometimes. Crease in the napkin, more linen than paper. No condiments random, must be wrangled in a proper container. And there was the time.

Chapter One. In the beginning was the table, she served her family well. May she rest well after years of service.

Until she takes her place with the next generation.

And takes her place as the centerpiece of service, serving others, always.

God is Great, God is Good, Let us thank Him….for the table a place for feasting on the life abundant.

Counting gifts, gratefully, time, crisp air, hope, pink morning sky, peace, good news, more peace, gracious words, more hope, pink mums, time to reflect back on a life of a young mom who died at 48 and hear the words of the funeral from two of our children, cherishing the days we have, seeing the abundance in this life, time with old friends – tender, sweet, seeing God’s hand of protection and sovereignty, too many to count.

Joining Ann, Laura, Amber, Michelle ,  L.L. Barkat, and The Nester.

And now its time for your words. Because hearing yours is an important part of being in a community. You may leave one word or many, but I do love to hear from ya’ll. There is a comment box below, there is a leave a comment link on high. Either way, they wait for your words to spill and add more color.

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