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Foreign Yet Familiar

There is a recurrent, intense longing inside me for something or somewhere that remains insatiable. I cannot name it, draw it or explain it, but it pierces my heart to its deepest depths. It is like a refreshing drink of water to my dehydrated soul. It is there in the beauty of a photograph. It swaddles me in the emotion of a poignant movie. It dazzles me within the lyrics of a song. It is in the elegance of a sunset or sunrise salutation. It captivates my attention within the feelings of distant but divine memories. It is in the grace of a landscape and the dew of morning break. In everything beautiful, seemingly perfect and even among the presence of pain it strums the most tender and precious notes of my soul. It mesmerizes me in my laughter and comforts me in my tears. It seduces me like the silver lining that peaks after a pruning rain. It is the essence of my most coveted desires. It is always with me, rising and setting like the sun, shining like the beauty of the moon. I know this for sure; it is a person I have never seen, a place I have never been or a thing I have never fully known, yet, it holds a foreign familiarity woven into the very fabric of my soul.

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Our Scars Are Bountiful Stories

I have a scar on the left side of my chest where there once was a central line that nourished me when I was too ill to eat. I have a scar under my right arm in the upper rib area that is a reminder of a chest tube that once supported my collapsed lung from a procedure gone wrong. Both blemishes were the product of one pregnancy. I see those two scars every day, and for many years they were unattractive to me. What I have learned and love is now when I notice them I feel gratitude where I once knew grief because those blemishes are emblematic of life. My scars are the representatives of a broken story with a bountiful ending. If it were not for them, I would not have my daughter. I was reminiscing amidst the memories of my scar journey this morning, and as I was strolling through the story, I had a vivid visual of Jesus on the cross. There he was in my picture, nailed by evil and dawning scars that the world would deem unattractive; then this thought crossed my mind, Jesus’ scars also represented life. I am confident that He, too looks his scars, smiles and says if it were not for them, I would not have my daughter.

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Finding the Sparkle in the Quiet and the Small

I’m going to be honest for the sake of being transparent and authentic, because I have learned that it is in admitting my struggles that I find freedom, and maybe loan a little out, too. Holidays are difficult for me. Whether it’s Christmas, birthdays, 4th of July…I have to fight some degree of sadness, and sometimes my fight is weak.

I grew up in a big family, and everyone lived within a reasonable distance. Holidays were very grand at our house and my grandmother’s houses. My mom and grandmothers were all great cooks, and definitely fed many small armies over the years. As much as the food, I remember the fellowship, the laughter, the sporting events on TV, big firework displays, football games in the yard, all the men falling asleep on the couches-:)… I remember so many people, the constant roar of conversation, laughter and the euphoria of kids everywhere-a lot of kids!

Every holiday was as old as it was new, foreign as it was familiar, and worn as it was refreshing. They were truly wonderful times that have branded priceless memories deep into my heart.

As another holiday approaches Friday, I have felt that restlessness settling into my soul. I have to be intentional to remember the happiness of what was, while forging gratitude in what is. What is, is still beautiful, it’s just different. If you have the luxury of having most of your family healthy and close by, don’t take it for granted. You are truly blessed. I am blessed too, my blessings just look different than yours.

A couple of weeks ago I was flying back from Texas, (where all of my family is), to Birmingham. As I was standing in line with my children waiting to board the plane, a dialogue was going on in my head. Was I flying back home or leaving home. I was conflicted in my answer. I later realized that the answer didn’t really matter, because home is wherever the people we love are, and that can be many places. Also, in his grace, The Father reminded me that all these homes are just temporary resting places along the journey to my forever home-a place where it will be one big, ongoing reunion with all those I love in attendance.

Jesus promises that “in my Father’s house there are many rooms.” I’m so grateful, because we will need them! As for this holiday, it may be quite, it may be small, but sometimes it’s the the quite and the small that create the most sparkle! More so, though, it is about focusing on cherishing my blessings and committing to choose joy in all situations, whether they be extraordinary or ordinary. So much beauty in life really is found in the ordinary.