Sunday, February 23, 2014


This morning my friend Jacque emailed me a link to youtube that showed her amazing son Josh playing a violin solo with his orchestra. It was inspiring, breathtaking--everything fabulous. I just sat there in awe as I watched it.

Yesterday we attended Foster church as Savana was singing and my friend Erin Miller spoke. She is so articulate and has such a welcoming stage presence up there behind the pulpit. She talked about spiritual gifts and I was so proud to be able to say Aw...I know her! She did an amazing job.

My friend Tammy has this way about her where she makes everybody feel like they are the only person in the world when she is talking to them. She says just the right things and has a listening ear so that it is perfectly natural to spill out every irritation and problem when you're in her presence. But beyond that, she lives in a comfortable home that she is always willing to open up and share with anyone who would like to stop by. She absolutely has the gift of hospitality.

Laurie, my friend who lives up the hill, has this creative gene where she can make anything. She can knit and crochet and cook and bake -- all on a professional level that makes anything I make in comparison look like child's play. I hate her.

Tina, Savana's boyfriend's mom, is kind of ridiculous. She can upholster and sew and create anything simply by looking at a picture and then...making it. Who does that??

People are amazing. Everyone has gifts that send them over the edge of normalcy--gifts that give them a little slice of brilliance. When I worked through this Emotional Brain Training program that I did a couple of years ago, one of the things it teaches is that everyone has a light side and everyone has a dark side. And of course...we like to focus on people's dark sides. They annoy us and give us something to talk about.


We need to learn to look for the light in everyone. We need to let them blossom instead of seeing only wilting stems.

At church yesterday before Erin's sermon, there was a skit where a guy was trying to discover his own spiritual gifts and he was failing miserably. He said the wrong things; kicked people with broken legs; created nothing but chaos and annoyance. He was stuck in no-man's-land and didn't know how to get out.

Unfortunately, I think so many people feel that way. This morning on Facebook one of my friends from high school bemoaned her lot in life. She is a nurse and despises her job but doesn't know how to get out of it. She lives on anti-depressants and yet she can't find a hint of sunlight in her day.

She lives in no-man's-land.

I wish I had the answer for my friend. She is one of so many who only sees darkness in a never-ending tunnel. And yet...I know she has gifts. I well-remember how, when she sang during our high school years, her voice quieted the room so that you could hear a pin drop. She brought me to another place; she was mesmerizing. And yet now she sits in a house with her only son, absolutely miserable.

Last night I sat with Jace at the piano as he has decided he is ready to learn to play. I imagine Jace has some musical ability hidden down deep as both of the girls are quite musical. Music was a big part of my life growing up and the girls could say the same. But Jace? Not so much. I tried...really tried...but he simply wasn't interested. When he was part of a children's choir, he would stand and sigh, swaying from side to side, staring up at the ceiling...I would berate him: Jace! You have a good voice! SING!! no avail. But he has a friend who plays the piano and so now he is inspired. And he actually enjoys it! He picks it up quickly and as long as he doesn't go deaf in his right ear from my yelling when he refuses to think...well, I think we'll be okay. Who knows. Maybe he'll be the next great pianist comin' round the bend.

Last night I dreamed that a bunch of people were coming over to my house for dinner. I was trying to figure out what to cook for them: stroganoff? spaghetti? mashed potatoes and cottage cheese loaf? They were slated to arrive--all of these people--in a few minutes and I had nothing prepared. In fact, I didn't even have the ingredients in my cupboards to make this meal. And so, I was frantic--talking on the phone bemoaning my fate to someone while hustling Roy out the door to the grocery store.

Hospitality that involves laying a big spread on the table for hosts of people is simply not my forte'. Clearly.

But sometimes I see other people's gifts and wish they were mine. I dream at times (even now in my mid 40's) of being an inspiring singer up there on the stage, microphone in hand, the crowd mesmerized. But the truth is, I am more likely to stand back and listen during praise service at church than I am to join in these days. My voice just isn't what it used to be ... and that certainly isn't saying much.

I think it's easy to look around and wish for something else--I wish I could sing; I wish I could draw; I wish I could cook like that; I wish I could....I wish I could....I wish I could... instead of simply being content with our own corner of brilliance--while giving ourselves room to grow. It's easy to focus on our own dark side rather than seeing the light.

Life is filled with opportunity. We live in a big world and a free country that provides a myriad of doors. We can take a variety of classes, both creative or knowledge-based; we can learn a new trade; we can travel; we can dance.

Just the other day someone was talking about a person who is 54 years old and starting a new job. I thought, Wow. They are getting up there in age to be doing that. And then? I realized that I am almost there. I am 47 years old ... and yet I still feel like there is so much life ahead of me. I still have dreams and mountains to conquer. And so...kudos to this person who hasn't forgottten to dream. Kudos to them that they are still willing to forge new paths.

No matter our age or social status or financial situation, we can shine.

We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining--they just shine. Dwight L. Moody


  1. I love this!!!! And it is SO TRUE....It is so so easy to focus on what we can't do instead of what we can. PREACH IT MOM. And you have so many fabulous gifts :) You are an incredible listener and so insightful and so genuine AND I CAN'T WAIT TO SPEND ALL OF BREAK WITCHU.

  2. And shine you do!! I seriously wish - for 5 min - you could see YOU through my eyes! You light up every room you walk into! As I've told you before, there's no one I'd rather spend time with! I want to shout from the rooftops that you're my friend and others should be jealous! Ha! But it's true!


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