Hey, blog buddies! Welcome to the party. My lil' inquisitive, grace-full, joyful blog is now 5 years old. Let the festivities begin! Our 5th Blogaversary party begins with sharing the glimpses of grace you all sent me. I know everyone will enjoy them as much as I have.
My Dad, in Texas:
A walk in the moonlight when you were a child. The air crisp with the feel of Fall. Drifts of brittle leaves crunched beneath and drifted around our feet as we worked our way toward the wooden span of bridge leading into the park. A gibbous moon rode high competing with the vast velvet darkness of a sky dusted with stars. Your hand would, occasionally, clutch fiercely at mine as you navigated your way through the stillness.
A gentle tug drew my eyes down to see the frosty breath framing your tiny face. "Look at the moon, Daddy"!
Smiling, I took in the spectacle overhead.
"Isn't it beautiful?" you inquired.
"It's amazing." I responded.
"It's so white!" you exclaimed.
"So very white." I responded.
"Why?" was your question.
I was completely lost in the attempt to answer that question in terms of refracted light, dust particles and reflected sunlight. That night I learned the amazing power of that same question repeated after every answer I gave. I was helpless before it. It grew to dominate so much of your life. From sand lions, to frogs, to rainbows, you always wanted to know why and how things worked. You see magic in a dancing flame. You sense wonder in the music of life.
Your soul soars and you carry me along.
You see what is not, but might be, and ask... "Why not"?
You are grace and I love you for it.
Love you, too, Dad! Thanks for never tiring of all my questions. I remember being a child and asking on a long car trip (and continuing to discuss it for a while), "Who made God?"
Neil in Belfast:
“A glimpse of grace that sits on my desk everyday with memories of Greenhill.”
Neil's a buddy of mine who was a youth volunteer when I worked at Fitzroy in Belfast. Greenhill was our annual youth retreat camp, and the little mirror was given to remind us that we reflect God (or something along those lines). Neil says “it's a reminder of a great weekend and the best bunch of folk I have the privilege of working with.”
I still have my mirror, too, Neil. Those weekends at Greenhill full of good chats, walks on the beach and hilarious banter will always be among my favorite memories.
My Grandmother, in Texas:
I was very early for Morning Worship while on an out of town trip, so I sat all alone in the large, beautiful and very quiet Sanctuary. I began to sense a lot of movement behind me but there was no sound. In just a moment a young man came down the main aisle hurling his body toward the Altar in the most perfect cartwheels I had ever seen! Before I could even phrase "WHAT in the world?......" in my mind, I began to think about what I had just witnessed. Insight took charge and I knew that I had just seen a young worshipper entering into His gates, overjoyed at the prospects. What a way to go!
A wonderful observation, Grandmother! As we pastor folk say, "That'll preach!"
Jessi in Tennessee:
Back in January a close sorority sister of mine gave birth to her first child, a daughter, Riley. The only problem being that Riley was due in April. She was 4 months early. She was barely 20 weeks which in baby land gave her about a 50-50 chance. We prayed hard, our group of friends pulled together and prayed constantly. There were rough days and nights and even rough weeks. And then one day I got an email that seemed to turn everything around. Riley had turned a corner, gained weight and things were looking up. This past weekend, for my birthday, I held Riley for the first time. She's now 8 months old and PERFECT. You'd never know that she almost didn't make it. We walked and talked, she giggled at me and I was in heaven. I had 2 1/2 days of Riley and it was a true miracle. When I look at her I know there are miracles. When she drooled on my shoulder it was the best drool I'd ever seen. I can't have bad days looking at Riley pictures. I don't doubt God's real presence in our lives. I don't doubt miracles or grace knowing that there were days when I begged God to let Riley make it. Now she is perfection and I will spoil her rotten!!!
Jessi, you know I was born three months early (actually on the same day as Riley!) and so this story is really special to me. Thanks for sharing it. Riley's lucky to have you.
My Mom, in Texas:
I've known Charley almost as long as we've lived in Victoria. He was among the first we met at church; a gregarious old newspaperman and an interesting character--proud of his Hispanic heritage, strong in his faith, obstinately loyal to his Longhorn football team. We liked each other from the beginning, bantering back and forth, he with his beautiful, melodic Spanish and me with my inept, chopped-up attempt at Espanol. He laughed a lot, always ending our chats with a 'Hook 'em Horns' hand sign, which I countered with a 'Gig 'em Aggies' thumbs up. The passing of years has been a challenge for Charley as he faces the slow grip of dementia, slipping quietly away from us. Recently he hasn't always recognized me, so I was thrilled when I ran in the Fellowship Hall at church yesterday and found Charley alone, waiting for his wife to finish with her Circle meeting. He jumped up, grabbed my hand and said, "Bonnie, I've been meaning to call you! How's your mama?" I was stunned at his enthusiasm and clarity--Charley Bear was back! I told him Mother was great and that I was so happy to see him. We chattered in English and Spanish a bit, and then slowly his eyes became distant and he began drifting away. About that time his wife walked up to him and gently took his arm, saying, "Charley, let's go home." They walked hand in hand down the hallway, and then Charley slowly turned around one last time and flashed a 'Hook 'em!' gesture to me. For a brief, grace-filled moment, I had a glimpse of Charley.
Mamacita, what a beautiful tribute to Charley. I'm betting you're his favorite Aggie.
Lynn in Georgia:
God's beautiful world. This is what I call a "glory" shot. Taken from my car window in Decatur, Georgia.
Just gorgeous, Lynn! And I think I know exactly where you took this picture. :)
Ed in North Carolina:
Our dogs give us a Glimpse of the unyielding love of God.
My dog does, too, Ed. Such unconditional, constant love.
Jen in Oregon:
This was taken at Bring, a place that helps people reuse and recycle just about everything you can imagine. Their store ( re-sale shop for bits and pieces left over from demolition projects primarily) is called a "planet improvement center" and this is a picture of the chapel they have built in their courtyard out of some of the objects that have been donated to them (aka - trash). I LOVE that it occurred to someone to build a chapel out of someone's cast offs - to me it is a holy place reminding me of the cornerstone that was rejected, that nothing (even junk) is too secular to be sacred, and that even tree hugging hippies like to have a place to pray!
I love this, Jen! How creative and powerful.
Tom in Dublin, Ireland:
When I drove to work from my old house, I used to have to contend with busy lanes of traffic through rush hour for 20 minutes, but a year ago I moved to a new house where this view accompanies my current commute to get to work. Every time I turn out of my street straight onto this quiet road by the sea I'm struck by the beauty and by the hand of God that put it there, and so thankful that this is what I get to look at every day instead of the back end of someone's car.
What a view, Tom! I imagine it's hard to get the Monday blues looking at that on the way to work.
Our festivities continue with some delicious pumpkin cupcakes (yep, they deserve bold status) this afternoon. It's not a party without some baked goodies...wish I could mail one to each of you. And later, I'll share my own glimpses of grace from today. If you didn't get a chance to send a glimpse of grace to me, but would like to, go right ahead (email@example.com) and I'll post it later today.
What a fun day! Thanks for being a part of it and this journey of grace the past five years.