It seems quiet here. The sun is not quite up yet.

My husband and daughter have packed tools and briefcase and left me—alone—with the day.

And I think to myself: Sometimes it’s easier to have your day ordered for you by the clatter of the obvious than to be faithful in shadow’s hush.

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Squinting my ears, I hear the hum of the air conditioner as it labors in steady, untiring service.

So often, like the gift of the shell that sits on my shelf, gorged with hidden sound of ocean’s roar, it goes unnoticed.

And I wonder who ever first discovered the magic fullness hidden in languishing, emptied shells.

My life is full of sounds like that—people—beauty—gifts

Unheard. Unappreciated.

I seem to never notice until they stop

Doing. Giving. Being.

And I hear the Spirit of my Creator ask me,

Self, are you willing to be like that shell—emptied of the animal that resides within and filled to the brim with the unseen sound of the ocean? 

Are you willing to labor faithfully in hidden solitude until God knows it’s time for someone to pick you up and listen?

And I answer, Teach me to be willing, Lord.

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That’s how many days passed between my father’s diagnosis and the day he left this earth. He had more time than many who hear the words “it’s pancreatic cancer.”

We may have grieved the short time he had left, but I don’t ever recall any betrayal of regret or anxiousness on his part because, you see,

His days on earth may have been numbered, but long before the diagnosis, the Lord had been teaching him to number his days.

redbud 3Do you ever try to imagine how long you will live and what that will feel like? I do.

I think about how old I will be if I live another 10, 20, 30 years, but the idea of how long the time between now and then will feel always eludes me.

How long or short does 10 or 20 or 30 years in real time feel?

It’s a question I ask myself a lot. And one I don’t have the answer to.

It’s not easy to determine how long life feels when you’re busy living it.

One thing I do know; unless I live to be well over 100, no matter how I crunch the numbers, I always get the same answer:

days left on earth < days lived on earth.

It’s a sobering thought.

But that isn’t the lesson God taught my dad or wants to teach me—the mere counting up and weighing of days.

He wants me to think not so much about how many day’s I have left but about how I am using my today!

That’s a sobering thought too.

How do I begin to know how to use this day before me?

The Psalmist asked God to teach us to number our days so we can present to God a heart of wisdom.

True wisdom is this: “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…”

My dad was given 30,079 todays with one year, six months and three days of knowing that his life on earth would soon be over.

Even then, he didn’t know the exact number of days he would have; he only knew he had the day he was living, and that was enough.

So I ask myself, “Self, is that enough for you?”

And because I know this creator and and maker and grantor of days—that His ways are perfect—I ask Him to give me ears to hear His voice and a heart to receive and obey with wisdom and grace the day He has planned for me and for those He longs to love through me in it.

This day…

See Psalm 90:12; ; Psalm 95:7 Hebrews 3:15
Note: the redbud tree pictured was planted by my dad before he passed away—a memorial that graces the walk up to the house on Markland
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With school starting this month, I thought it would be fun to share this throwback post that was a originally written in January of 2008 when I first became an empty-nester. I can hardly believe it’s been almost 9 years: 

Monday I did something I haven’t done for almost 30 years…I threw my glasses and a notebook in my purse and drove the 12 minute drive to the local community college where I attended my first National Government class of winter term.

I can already tell this will not be a routine memorization of statistics and facts sort of course but one full of dynamic, thought-provoking discussion.

The professor came highly recommended by my oldest and youngest daughters, who, when dual-enrolled, collectively, took several classes taught by him…. I would have been perfectly content to have just audited the class, but they insisted I sit for the exams.

“It’ll be good for you,” they said.

I suppose they expect me to get an “A” too….hmmmm it’s tough feeling like you have to live up to your children’s reputations.

When I went to register, the class was full, but I was told I could call the prof to ask if he would let me in.

“This is beginning to be a pain,” I said to Leah.

“It’s part of it; it’s good for you,” she said.

Good thing I had connections (thanks Jenna and Leah); he did let me in.

After he signed a permission card, I had to go back to the registrar’s office where I was told there was a block on my registration because they had no record of my ever having taken English 1101…

ha ha ha ha ha…

I have a BA in English….

Of course, my English professors would probably take back my degree if they ever read this blog and saw my abuse of grammar with all of these “……..’s”

ha ha ha….they didn’t care….they needed proof….

I quickly managed to get a transcript and then made my THIRD trip to the registration office.

I had forgotten what it’s like to have to stand in line FOREVER x 3 to register for classes and to stand in line FOREVER to get into the bookstore to buy your books and to drive around the parking lot FOREVER looking for someone coming out of class to follow as they walk to their car as you stalk them like a vulture to get their parking space while at least 400 other drivers are doing the same!

Anyway…to make a long story just a teeny bit longer…I FINALLY got legally registered and got my book and have been able, so far, to find parking to make it to class on time (a bigger challenge, I think, than making a good grade) I am also the oldest, and quite possibly the dumbest, student in the class….and…

Don’t say it…I know what you’re thinking….

It’ll be so good for me.

Note: For those readers who are wondering, I did manage to make an A. And if you ever want to take an engaging national or international government class—Dr. Kevin Walsh at Broward College—I highly recommend him.

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We were just two kids then when all was rosebud pink and green and fresh, in love with love and maybe a little with each other—but mostly just our selves.

And it has been a long time coming—this love: tender and bold and broken.

Spring held her secret far too long it seemed, but she did not abandon us forever. Ever loyal, she bowed in deference to fairest summer’s face that, for awhile, lulled us into sleepy satisfaction.

But then, things not quite perfect (the way we wanted them to be), and not knowing spring’s glorious secret, we tried harder. And while guarding secrets of our own, under summer’s scorching sun, the chasm of our hearts grew ever wider.

Where was this promised spring that eluded us but found so many others; why so long in her arriving?

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But there are times and seasons, and each is summoned forth to do its perfect work, preparing the way for others to do their own.

So came fall’s holocaust, ringing out doomsday incantation: “death, death, death—all is dead; it is time to die. And though we didn’t know it then, faithful fall had come (it seemed in cruel abandon) proclaiming the edict of the King: “All seeds, even this long hoped for seed of deepest love, must fall to the ground and die.”

Immersed, hopeless, entombed in winter’s icy dread, the love we had naively sought was dead, and so were we. And that was that; life of love denied.

But far away, I hear a song with words so beautiful I know they’re not my own—the song of love for you I always longed to sing. And now I know the secret of the glorious gift of spring— it’s not my love at all; it is the King’s.

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Did you know there’s a company called Pop in NYC that guarantees to deliver your food order in 15 minutes or less? Uber-Eats used to make an even bolder promise—no more than a 10 minute wait. Think about it; at a dine-in restaurant, it sometimes takes longer than that to get the waiter to come to your table to give you a menu or take your order, much less bring your food.

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I know because I’m kind of a fussy diner. Slow customer service happens to be my biggest pet peeve—aside from insanely impatient South Florida drivers and people in a hurry, who cut me in line, and well, a few other things that involve time.

Yeah, I see the hypocrisy; I’m in a hurry, but I can’t stand for anyone else to be.

Well, sometimes I can.

Last week, my mom-of-four-kids daughter was under the weather, so I made a big pot of soup for her family and made the drive to her house at a snail’s pace to keep the soup in the backseat from sloshing all over the place.

The drive to her house can be frustrating because part of it is through an area heavily populated with illegal immigrants, who I am pretty sure have cars but no drivers’ licenses. In an effort to stay under the radar, they drive at least 35 miles an hour under the 25 mph speed limit.

I know—I shouldn’t judge—maybe they’re delivering soup to their sick relatives too!

And now that I’ve told you all that, here’s what I really want to confess: most of the time I want an Uber delivery experience with God. I want Him to deliver what I order, and I want it now!

I somehow think I should be able to circumnavigate the process of becoming a daughter of glory. I want the fifteen-minute-I-choose-you-deliver-no-responsibility-on-my-part delivery.

But God is not an Uber God; He just isn’t.

He wants to teach me the art of fine dining: to slow down, enter the eternal time-zone and savor the experience—to trust Him to order for me—to learn to swallow and enjoy delicacies that may at first seem unpalatable—to be nourished with kingdom food.

He doesn’t want me to know Him as Uber God; He wants me to leisurely DINE with Him: break bread, partake of the wine—to taste and see that He is always always always good.

His timing is perfect; He is always on time, and as I heard someone quip one time, rarely a minute early!

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