What’s in a Word?

A quick peruse of Roget’s online Thesaurus gives many synonyms for the word hopeful.  My favorite? There are several, but blithe and buoyant just kind of roll off the tongue.  I love words and languages, and words, as I am known for saying,  matter. And frankly, I’ve been witnessing some challenges with words.  Are the challenges with words alone –  improper usage, negative, harsh words –  or with life situations or attitudes, the deeper issues?    All of those apply and they’re all valid to some extent. Ask my girls –  “Mom, I’m sick,”  was likely to draw the response, “Keep saying that and you probably will be.”  A student who makes the mistake of saying, “I can’t do that,” is likely to hear, “Keep telling yourself that you can’t and it’ll probably be true.”  I love having an eight-year-old tell me, “Miss LeeAnn, I’m having a challenge with this music.”

I can almost hear the eyes rolling 🙂  Here we go again, the mind over matter speech, the positive thinking approach.  You bet.  It matters.  After I titled this post I downloaded the video for my current Bible study, and sure enough, there’s one of my favorite Bible teachers, Beth Moore, talking about hope, being hopeful, and using words that DO matter.  One of those little Sparkles of confirmation.  And sure enough, my ErinLee called and said, Mom, “I’m getting sick, I mean, I’m fighting off an illness.”  Words matter.  How much better to be fighting off illness than to be sick or worse yet, feeling “awful”.  Say the words, hear them.  Much better to be fending off than succumbing to or worse.

Even more important when challenged by an emotion like fear.  Do not, for one second, give fear a foothold in your mind.  For sure never, ever give it a voice!  I am NOT afraid, fear not, I will fear no evil, on and on.  Better yet, leave the word- fear- out completely.  Try:  I am feeling strong; I am trusting the Lord to protect me.  I have EVERY confidence.  Get the picture?

Who cares?  I do.  There are a variety of books on the subject, among them, The Tongue, a Creative Force by Charles Capps.  There have been many teachings and there are many people  who believe in the power of words.

Try it – make it a game in your family until it becomes habit in your life.  Choose your words carefully – to encourage a positive attitude, to change a less-than-happy mood, to drive out fear and/or negativity, to overcome challenges, to accomplish great things,  fulfill your heart’s desire.

Words matter and I’m most hopeful that you’ll agree with me and give it your best shot 🙂          à plus tard….

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Jump Out of the Boat!!

As mentioned earlier, we attended a great church, Seacoast Church, just blocks from Meghan’s apartment, on Christmas Eve, and then a satellite campus in Mount Pleasant on the weekend.   The young preacher had a great message and I have two points scribbled in large letters on a piece of paper that were made during the message.  He preached on John 21:7 and my two notes are JUMP OUT OF THE BOAT and FEED MY SHEEP.  There’s so much meat here that will serve me well in the coming year as a life philosophy and also as a theme for this blog and Her Father’s Homestead in general.

This was such a pointed message, like all those years of sitting in front of my dad as he was preaching.  How many times did I feel like he was speaking directly to me?  Way too many times to count and the same thing happened on Sunday morning.  I was being told to jump out of the boat, move toward the Lord, like Peter did – just dive on in and then Peter was told that if he loved the Lord as he said he did he should “Feed My sheep.”  If that isn’t a goal or a direction for the Homestead, I don’t know what would qualify!!

And while I’m thinking of it, I learned a whole new meaning for Sparkles (refer to earlier posts)  Instead of Sparkles occurring in the frigid cold of northern Wisconsin snow, we discovered Sparkles in the sea foam , the bubbles left behind by the incoming and retreating waves on the beach.  This, too, will work for future messages.  What a trip this has been been – full of food for thought, soul-searching and messages!

As this faithful computer at the Richland County Public Library is telling me I have eleven minutes before lock-out, I’m going to say adieu.  I’ll be back tomorrow as I’ll reserve time here before I leave.  The people here have been fabulous, friendly, helpful, to this obvious Northerner – obvious as soon as I open my mouth 🙂  So a quick visual preview will have to suffice for spell-check and again, forgive any errors till I get home and on to my own computer again.  Blessings!!!

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Countdown 80 Hours – a New Day

One of my favorite Scriptures was given to me years ago by an adult student.  She often referred to Lamentations 3:22-23 where we’re told that the Lord’s mercies are new every morning!  There’s a thought with which to begin every day!  A whole new day and one less  until I’m hugging my daughter and being warmer.

So let’s begin true to form – a weather update.  More snow overnight, but the sparkly kind.  As sunrise isn’t for an hour-and-a-half yet, you have to look out toward the big yard light to see the sparkles, but they are there.  The dogs went out willingly and no “parts”  were brought home on the first round.  Yesterday morning in the driving wind I was trying to figure out what the “part” was  – rabbit, cat, part of a deer?  Trying to figure it out without getting too close and trying to get it into a trash bag without touching it, again, in blowing snow and driving wind, all before dawn.

The battle of the “parts” is a story in itself, to be summarized here.  I’ve done battle for months over a ribcage with an intact spine attached.  Suffice it to say that once bow season (archery hunt for deer) starts in the fall “parts” can become an issue that continues throughout the winter and once things are frozen, there’s no burying.  The humor in it, the bright side?  Last Christmas when ErinLee let one of the dogs in, he dropped the foreleg of a deer on her bare foot.  The squeals, “EUUEEEUUUEEEUUU – MOM!” brought me to investigate and there it lay on the floor of the back porch.  I’m smiling now remembering her reaction though I guarantee she’ll be rolling her eyes when she reads this.  Anyway, that’s “parts” in a nutshell and the mercies new every morning?  It’s above zero, there are sparkles and no parts came in with the first run of the day:)  Life is good and I’m one day closer to Christmas with my Meghan in a warmer climate.

So I’m into my new day – coffee with a former student home from college for Christmas,  blowing snow from the drive and the mailbox, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning – closets, drawers, etc., prep for tonight’s Celebrate Recovery, oh yeah, more cleaning, actually going to CR tonight with a snow advisory in effect and there you go, another day. Enjoy it, put on some music,  smile and dance around your kitchen!!  Adieu

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Countdown 6 days!

Actually I got an e-mail from my Meghan  – the South Carolina daughter with whom I’m spending my holiday – this morning and she had the countdown in HOURS – hours, not days.  How thrilling is that?  She had it at 152 hours and just happened to mention that it’s very warm there today, said she walked her new dog this morning wearing a tank top and drove to work with the windows open.  Beats the daylights out of a wind chill of minus 3°.  My dogs don’t even want to go out and we got more snow overnight.  And though the sun is shining now, the snow is NOT melting, which means that shortly I’ll take a break and head out to the back  steps to assess whether or not I can get away with just broom and shovel or if I need to fire up the snowblower.

So where’s the fun part, the bright side, LeeAnn’s way of looking at the world?  At 5:00 this morning  I was taking the garbage up to the road and there were sparkles everywhere, thanks to the big Mag flashlight and the dusk-to-dawn yard light.  It was absolutely gorgeous – another little gift to me outside in the cold, quiet dark at a very early hour.

Another little quirk of life out here.  Not all that long ago my garbage bags were left, as in not picked up.  The time was taken, however, to slap a bright orange sticker on both of the bags telling me that the garbage is to be out to the road by 6:00 a.m. And because I’m me, my first thought was,  what?  Someone from the county drives up and down these country roads at 6:00 a.m. sharp making a list (and checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty – bags to the road late – or nice)?  Okay, bad joke, but it is approaching Christmas so forgive me, a little grace, please.

And there you have it, as my father often says.  Grace – another gift, so precious, yet so often missing from our lives, personally, within our families, relationships and even within the church.  But that’s a big subject and probably best saved for another day. So now I head into the great outdoors.  And by the way it’s warmed up to 12° and a wind chill of one degree.  A virtual heat wave and off I go 🙂

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Little Sparkles part two

Wouldn’t you know it?  Having just decided on the name of my project here, Her Father’s Homestead, this morning’s message was based on The Lord’s Prayer, which begins with those words familiar to many, “Our Father…”  Affirmation, confirmation, call it what you will.  I call it Little Sparkles (scroll down to Part One for definition)  It was like a message from my Father telling me He was pleased with the project.

I listened intently to Pastor John, focusing on My Heavenly Father, while allowing the morning’s frustration to melt away and surrounding myself with the warmth of believing that that Little Sparkle was the morning’s gift to me.

No matter what our immediate circumstances, there is always hope.  There are those who will call me unrealistic, a Pollyanna, an incurable optimist.  I’ve even been called a liar for proclaiming the positive instead of embracing what some had deemed a a terrible prognosis.

But I believe in Little Sparkles and I’ve had more than my share.  When faced with a malignant brain tumor in 2006 and the resultant brain surgery, radiation, chemo, and supposed dire prognosis for this condition, I wouldn’t claim it for myself.  Now having passed the one-year mark, a milestone for this disease, then the two-year mark, a bigger milestone and now being within four months of the three-year milestone, I’m still receiving Little Sparkles along the way.

Call me what you will, it won’t change the fact that I CHOOSE to see the Sparkles that my Father sends my way rather than dwell on the dull, perhaps ugly “reality” when faced with adversity.

As a political activist having just endured yet another Presidential election, I’m familiar with the concept of “Perception is reality.”  Maybe you’ve heard that concept, too, maybe not.  But if you are feeling under the weather emotionally, a bit on the less-than-positive side of life, I so encourage you to watch for the Little Sparkles and marvel at them.  Perceive them as a little gift and your reality will be enhanced.  You may find yourself smiling, breathing a silent, “Thank you, Father,” maybe even doing a little dance around your kitchen.  (Those who know me may be grinning at that mental picture 🙂   Enjoy … and bask in the warmth of your Father’s love.   till the next time, adieu.

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