lessons learned over the last two months

If I had to give a fruit grade for April and May,

I would hand out a grapefruit.

I know, how often does one give a grade in

produce?

I love Ruby Red grapefruits.

They are the perfect balance of sweet and sour.

I feel like the last two months have been both those

flavors with plenty of squirting juice to spare.

I have tried not to drown in the vast array of emotions.

The sweetest of the last 8 weeks was my parents’

retirement celebrations.

It is a rare and precious occurrence when a husband and wife

can retire at the same time.

It is a rare and precious opportunity to be given two days of

basking in the words of others as spoken adjectives of life,

admiration, generosity, grace, faith and love blanketed the air and

ground like confetti.

Often, these words are uttered in arenas of grief, when

emotions are so elevated, the sentiments are often challenged to find

a place to land and settle on the hearers.

There were many who came to one or both of these celebrations.

At one point, at the reception for our father, Bill and I were

pinned to the back wall by the crush of people.

It seemed fitting as their lives and love for us

has always crowded out any lesser good attempting to hinder.

Through all the love and the tears, there are only two people who

know what it is like to be Bill and Felicia’s children.

My brother Bill and me.

Every emotion felt and word expressed, we knew from our day ones and in ever-increasing measure.

I love you with all my heart Mom and Dad.

I am profoundly proud of the lives you continue to live and the countless

lives you have forever changed for the better.

DSCN1049

Has someone made an impact in your life?

Tell them.

Don’t wait, share the love now.

What made the celebration all the more delectable was

major movement in the journey

for my brother’s wife and children to become United States citizens.

For two years they have been working with an attorney to seek the

necessary paperwork for visas for their two children.

Preparation,delays, sleepless nights and a fearful to trip to Juarez (a very

unsafe place to visit), mountains of prayer and a huge helping of

God’s favor and their paperwork was approved quickly and they were

not detained for the weeks we had feared.

I don’t often bring up political issues.

I have chosen to keep this place akin to  Switzerland.

Opinions will always land on either side of an issue.

I am not sure there are ever any winners when sides collide.

So no matter what you feel about the status of the immigration

situation here in America, I am here to say be proud of your

heritage.

You have been born into a life of so many freedoms and privileges.

Don’t take for granted the life which you live here on this hallowed soil.

I venture to guess as Carmen finishes studying for her citizenship

exam, she will probably know more history than I can venture to remember

from junior high.

Perhaps our arms should widen larger to welcome those who desire to embrace

our ideals and our life.

I have been walking brave steps lately.

Actually I have been walking a lot of steps.

I sent a text to a friend to inquire if she was interested in walking a half marathon.

On the 4th of July.

She sent a text back saying she was in!

I panicked because the date is closer than I realized.

Be brave enough to voice a question and entertain an idea.

You may find you have company in your folly  bravery.

Speaking of brave, in the course of two weeks, two dear friends

received  serious diagnoses.

In those two weeks, life took a U-turn and speed increased.

We are all three the same age.

There has been change in both and even in me as I stand and wave the flag of

prayer.

What hasn’t changed is their resolute faith in God, the giver of life.

Embrace this very moment.

The proverbial blink of an eye can happen in anyone’s life.

Might I add, cozy up to God now.

Don’t wait until you are bowed over by the unknown.

Keep in step with the One who knows your name and who knows the all

of your days.

This last lesson, I have been learning for nearly a year.

This verse from Romans 12 has been one of my touchstone verses

for years.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Romans 12: 18

It’s not simple but it is stated in simple,direct  language.

If you have any part in bringing peace to relationships,

do it.

Let’s add the above verse to these verses:

Do you want to be counted wise,
to build a reputation for wisdom?
Here’s what you do:
Live well,
live wisely,
live humbly.
It’s the way you live,
not the way you talk, that counts.

Real wisdom,
God’s wisdom,
begins with a holy life and
is characterized by getting along with others.
It is gentle and reasonable,
overflowing with mercy and blessings,
not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced.
You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and
enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other,
treating each other with dignity and honor.

James 3: 13,16-17 (MSG)
These two sets of verses send me to the store to stock up on olive branches.

They remind me that having Jesus as my peace extends to me offering

peace to others.

I lay down my grievances and hurts and realize I would

rather do life with others than do it at a distance.

Is there a chipped and broken picket fence in your midst?

Why not pick up a hammer, some nails and a bucket of paint and

build something stronger and more resilient than the boards pounded deeply

in the hard ground of the past?

Make it your aim this week to:

Love with words.

Embrace and welcome others whose life path differs from your own.

Ask brave questions.

Cherish today.

Cling to God this very second.

Live and walk in peace.

What will you build this week?

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