Saturday, April 19, 2014

Stop to See Spring Burst Forth...and Happy Easter!

Don’t Miss The  Glorious Gifts of Spring

Sing to the Lord All the Earth   Psalm 96

As I drove around my town the other day, I stopped in my tracks, overcome by the bursting of flowers and trees, buds everywhere I turned.
  • Forsythia splashed their bright yellow branches, some neatly trimmed, some wild and crazyout of control.
  • Daffodils lined long stretches of sidewalk, gathered in groups below not-quite-bare branches of overhanging trees, splashed haphazardly across the sweeping lawn of a nearby park.
  • Crocuses clustered, tidy tight bunches of deep violet and golden rod, grape hyacinths nestled amongst them.T 

Though I had my usual long list of To Dos waiting for me at home, I had to pause. 

The splendor called. I drove up and down the hilly suburban streets of my town, jumping from my car to try and capture this stage of spring on film, this rebirth of nature in all its glory.

I was stunned, breathless, mesmerized by life at every turn.

All creation calls Him Holy!

I couldn’t stop gawking.

  • The cheery cherry flourished with its rich crowns of pretty soft pink, while the weeping variety danced near the ground.  
  • Magnolia were magnificent in their stripes of fuschia and white.
  • Apple blossoms had another day or two to reach their full spectacle, halfway between bud and burst.
  • The pear trees, not yet ripe, held tight to their budsin a matter of days their time will come and they too will deliver a plethora of snowy blossoms that fall quickly covering the ground with a manna-like carpet. 

Oak, elm, maple, willow, birch will followtheir winter buds will soon turn to verdant shades of green and plum.

If you stand still, you may actually be able to see the activity this new life brings. 

Like a time-lapse film, you can see the glory unfold.

Tomorrow, we celebrate the new life that came for all of usThough He entered quietly, the son of a working-class family, with little fanfare and 30 years of ordinary life. Ultimately all would be recorded in The Book, so we can ponder, we can stop, we can pause, know, experience the greatest story of all.

The Truth – He is Risen! Allelujah! Don’t miss the Free Gift Given Once and for All for You and for Me.

Happy Easter!

Let's Chat! Please leave a comment

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Time for a One Word for the New Year Update!

How Is Your One Word for the New Year Impacting You?

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.    Matt 6:33

It's been a little over three months since 2014 began, so it seems a good time to reflect on our One Word for the New Year. I’m hoping you will share an update on your One Word too. You can LinkUp at Circles Of Faith or share in the comments below.

My One Word this year is God.

I feel a little audacious saying so. But truly, it was God’s leading. As I sought Him a few weeks before the New Year, I had a clear sense God was calling me closerasking me to seek Him first in all things.

In truth, I do turn to God in all things on some level. There certainly isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of or pray to God. I’m pretty good with Bible Study and Devos too. But God is asking me for more.

Him first. What does that mean? 

Let's Chat! Please leave a comment

Sunday, March 23, 2014

How the Tribe Writers Course Through Jeff Goins Changed My Writing Life

Is it Time for You To Be 

More Intentional About Writing?

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens 

Ecc 3:10

Do you write?

If your answer is yes, do you call yourself a writer?

If you don’t call yourself a writer. Why not? Fear? Of failure? Of success?

Maybe you don’t feel worthy of the title?

You haven’t been publishedor you have a blog with a small audienceor maybe you just write for yourself. You’re your own audience of one.

On my journey of writing, I’ve been thankful to “meet” Jeff Goins online. 

In fact, I first started subscribing to his blog over three years ago. He was talking to me (and now 100,000 others). He encouraged me. He challenged me.

Jeff helped me go beyond dreaming to creating.

Naturally, when Jeff offered an online course called Tribe Writers, I signed up right away. I am now officially a Tribe Writers Pioneer!

Tribe Writers helped me learn more about the craft of writing. It’s helped me take my writing more seriously. Tribe Writers provided an awesome community that I share my writing with (I’ve even met some Tribe Writers in person!). And yes, I’ve gotten published. One of my stories is in Cec Murphey's  Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware. And I just got word that another piece is a finalist for a very popular book series (more on that later!).

So what if now is your time to take the next step? 

What if now is your time to claim your title—Writer. And to take your craft to the next level? 

Jeff’s course offers 4 Modules that will help you:
  • ·       Hone Your Voice
  • ·       Establish Your Platform
  • ·       Expand Your Reach
  • ·       Get Published (I knowthis one may be scary. But, admit ityou’d love it!)

You can follow along over the course of eight weeks, or go at your own pace. Once you sign up, you have unlimited access to all Tribe Writers offers—weekly audio or video lectures, written lessons, a workbook, exclusive interviews, forums and discussion groups, LIVE conference calls with Jeff Goins, your own accountability group, and lots more bonuses and freebies along the way.

I know Tribe Writers will take you further on your writing journey. It did that for me. 

So if that’s what you want. Take the next step and sign up for Tribe Writers. 
But hurry! You only have till Thursday, March 27. Just click here*

Tribe Writers Makes These Steps Easy!
And if you have any questions, just leave them in the comments, and I'll reply.

*Note: This is an affiliate link, which means I get a commission for helping Jeff Goins spread the word on Tribe Writers. I paid for, took the course, and loved it before becoming an affiliate. 

Let's Chat! Please leave a comment

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A St. Patrick's Day Celebration of Grandma and Her Legacy of Love

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

But the greatest of these is love.     1 Cor 13:13b

It’s St. Patrick’s weekend, so my thoughts naturally turn to my ancestors.

Both my mother’s and father’s side have their roots in Ireland. My maternal Great Great Grandfather Patrick Dempsey was born in 1837 in County Kildare, marrying Hannah Phoebe Short in Newark, NJ, so arriving in the States sometime in-between. I’m not sure about my maternal Grandmother’s side of the family, but I understand the Whites and Weys, while English in origin, also came from Ireland to the U.S. at some point.

Then there’s my beloved paternal Grandma Catherine McGuinness Daly who hailed from Garrison, County Fermanagh, and my Grandpa Charles Edward Daly, who was born in Bantry, County Corkand their son, my dad, Charles Patrick Daly, born in Bayonne, New Jersey. I have been blessed to meet and visit both sides of Dad’s remaining extended family in Ireland.

I thumb through some printed records I have of our family’s Irish heritage. 

It’s just a few folders. I think about legacy. What has been passed down to me through this family? And what am I passing down to my kids?

Mostly, I think of the influence of my grandmother, Catie. (Her story continues below)

Though she was poor in material wealth, she passed down riches that remain precious to me today. 

So what exactly is Grandma’s legacy?

Storytelling – She was no exception to the tradition of telling stories of the old country, of fairies and folklore, and the new country too, as she recounted the raising of her mischievous and so-well-loved son.

Laughter – Though each day brought very real and crippling pain of broken bones never healed, hands gnarled by arthritis, and near-blindness, Grandma loved a good laugh. I can see her now, head thrown back, as she “roared” (her word) with laughter.

Song and Dance – Grandma walked with a caneand she would threaten to use it if we didn’t obey, but mostly she would have us dance an Irish jig, hopping over the cane as she sung out the strains of a traditional Irish tune. (We've kept up this tradition...)

Prayer – Grandma had a little transistor radio next to her at all times, listening to Billy Graham and Norman Vincent Peale as much as possible. Her fingers were laced with the rosary. She prayed constantly. When people came to our home, they would include a visit with Grandma and requests for prayer, knowing this was her greatest work.

Listening – Grandma had time to listen quietly no matter what time of day or night. I shared my deepest fears and sorrowsand greatest joys with her, knowing she heard me and cared.

Seeing – Grandma couldn’t see very much with her eyes in the last years of her life, but she saw with her generous heart. And she saw beyond the obvious with her keen intuition and insight.

Contentment – There are people who live a hard life like Grandma’s—plenty of pain, physical and otherwise, sorrow, loss, near poverty, physical labor—they become bitter, depressed, angry. Grandma learned and demonstrated contentment and gratitude in all circumstances.

Faith – Grandma had a childlike faith. She did not question God, she just believed. She did not preach, she lived it. Her faith was unshakable.

Fierce – Not violent (though if pushed far enough by the fresh and sassy shenanigans of our brood of five, she could get plenty angry), but deeply determined and brave. Grandma forged ahead against plenty of odds.

Love – The greatest of all gifts, Grandma loved unconditionally, unquestionably, mercifully, generously, and gracefully.

Grandma's Story
Grandma was born in a two-room stone cottage. According to the records, she was born in 1893 to a farming family who occupied a two-room stone cottage; one room was for the family, the other for the animals.
Grandma's Home

Grandma left Ireland at about 18 years old. When we visited her family farm, one of our cousins explained as we walked along the bushes and fences that edged the farm, there were at one time “hedge” schools that Grandma may have attended. This was a “school” that might take place under cover in the shadow of the bushes in the rural areas of Ireland, especially for the Catholics of Northern Ireland who at one time did not have access to public education.

Cattle and Hedges

Moving amongst the rockyjumble of ruins that were once her home, we walked the very same rugged path Grandma would’ve traveled upon her departure from Ireland to the United States. 

She was given what was known as an “American Wake,” which meant friends and family gathered to say goodbye; to both celebrate and mourn the leaving of the young girl who would likely not return to her homeland ever againand she didn’t. The family and friends, after an evening of singing, storytelling, laughter, and tears would trod up the lane alongside the cart that would carry Grandma to the port, whereupon she would board a ship, and make the long journey to Ellis Island.

The Path Grandma Followed to America

Grandma joined her brother in Bayonne, NJ. He was an iceman, who delivered the huge chunks of ice that helped keep food from spoiling in the ice box, the precursor to our refrigerators. Oh there are so many tales to tellbut suffice it to say, Grandma did not have an easy life, yet she considered herself immeasurably blessed. She married Charles Edward Daly and they had a son, my dad, Charles Patrick, on December 14, 1930. They lived through the Depression, even became homeowners, but sadly lost their home when my grandfather died of pneumonia.

Grandma became a domestic and nanny. She and my dad moved into the back rooms of a doctor’s office, where Grandma worked as a caretaker (cleaning lady) and receptionist. And she continued in this line of work until she moved in with us, the Daly family, which consisted of Mom, Dad, and five children, ages 3 to 10, from 1966 till her death in 1973. I believe those may have been some of her very best years. She was proud beyond measure of the success Dad achieved, having once had to basically cry my upstart Dad back into the prep school he attended free as a “child of promise” and a potential priest.

For the seven years Grandma lived with us, she was a quiet constant in the midst of a very loud active family. She was peace in chaos, assurance in fear, always ready to listen and to pray. Grandma made everyone she knew feel special, important, valuable, confident. She kept to herself when Mom was around, so as not to interfere in any way. But when Mom was out and about having lunch, playing tennis, paddle, bridge, which was frequent, Grandma was there to greet us every day after school with enthusiasm, interest, love.

When Grandma died, her last of thousands of prayers was answered. She died quickly, in the midst of being useful. Emptying the dishwasher, a sudden stroke took her life in an instant. Oh it was a shock to us allyou can never be prepared for the death of someone who loves so well and is so well loved. And I will never forget the wailing, sobbing sounds of utter grief that came from my dad’s core. There is rarely a day I don’t think of her, over 40 years later.

Beloved Dad with Shelagh, Elise, Seton, and Phyllis

On this day, I pause to think about the rich heritage passed on by my grandmother. And consider the legacy I will leave.

How about you? What legacy do you want to leave?

Let's Chat! Please leave a comment

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Coffee for Your Heart - Who Inspires You?

When Your Own Husband Is One of the Most Inspiring People You Know

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…    Hebrews 10:24/ESV

When I first met my husband, I was 21, he was 23. I was about to graduate from college. He was a young father whose relationship had ended in dashed hopes and dreams. And his father died of alcohol abuse just a few months later.

Chris was in pain when I met him. He was sad and disappointed. Life had thrown some harsh blows.

But Chris was determined.

He had already applied and been accepted to a prestigious Poets in the School program. Now he had a new vision and a new hope. He would apply to Columbia University’s Master of Fine Arts program, one of the finest in the country. He wasn’t afraid of hard work—balancing a job, dedicating plenty of time to his two year old, and going to school full time.

So in addition to thinking he was absolutely adorable, sweet, kind, and bright, I was inspired by Chris’ willingness to forge ahead, his loyalty to and love for his daughter, his faithfulness, his unstoppable-ness at such a young age. Chris was very different, very mature compared to most of the guys I knew.

Just because Chris had dealt with a lot of difficulty already, didn’t mean we’d be spared from more challenges and even tragedies that lay ahead.

When I was five months pregnant with twins, we lost our babies. Oh this was as devastating a loss as we could imagine at the time. And it was definitely a “we” experience. Though Chris had not felt the kicks, the rumbles, the blossoming lives inside as only a mother can, he walked every step of grief with me. He didn’t push me along, ask me to get over it, expect me to shake this off. Nohe cried with me, held me, drew nearer to me, and inspired me to try again.

Fear and anxiety gripped us both when we found out we were pregnant. Would we have a baby this time?

Chris worked hard all day, then came home and worked late into the night preparing our nest with a new kitchen and bathroom. Since my pregnancy was considered high-risk, I was no help at all. In the midst of mounting stress, it would’ve been easy to justify an occasional drink. Instead Chris gave up alcohol completelynever to have a drink again, before temptation set in, before a problem could arise. Chris’ proactivity was inspiring.

We had our first little girlChris’ daughter moved in at 12and our second baby was born one-and-a-half months later. Feeling a little, actually a lot over my head with a tweenager, two babies, and a little two-bedroom city row house bursting at the seams, Chris remained steady, calm, hopeful, and faithful that we would be okay. In fact, he even managed to get a new job!

We moved to the burbs, put down new roots, and things seemed to be settling down…

Then on a brilliant blue-skied June morning, Chris, standing on the corner waiting for his commuter bus, was struck by a van. He suffered a severe traumatic brain injury, requiring open-head emergency surgery. For three days, his body was suspended between life and death. When we knew he would make it, there remained many unanswered questions.

Would he ever walk? Talk? Speak? Work? again?

Would he ever know us, his wife, family, friends? Would he make progress? Slow? Fast? Would he be wheelchair-bound? Need constant care and assistance or become independent again?

There were no concrete answers. Head injuries are a tricky and unpredictable thing.

But even before he could speak, dress himself, walkChris began the long road of recovery with his characteristic stubborn resolve. This, even this, could not stop him!

For months, Chris poured every ounce of energy into relearning all he had lost. He spent most of his days with physical, occupational, educational, and speech therapists (and yes, they too were inspiring). He poured over his journals, where he had recorded most of his life. There were endless and exhausting frustrations, frequent setbacks, the depressing end of his marketing career.

But here’s something inspiring…

Chris, now almost 20 years after being hit by that van, is on the brink of getting his Educational Doctorate. This has been no easy endeavor. Chris did not wake up one day and gain all he had lost. No he’s traveled this road of twists and turns, slippery patches and potholes, one step, sometimes one grueling step at a time. Oh he’s had an ardent companion, an undying advocateGod Himself has most certainly paved this road with miracles. But Chris has fully used the gifts he’s been given.

So when I wonder if, or how, or when, I am inspired by the example of hard work and hope, of a never-give-up kind of guy.

Thank you, Dr. Parker!

Today I’m visiting with Holley Gerth. She’s hosting a link-up every Wednesday called Coffee for Your Heart. Come on over and share what inspires you… 

Let's Chat! Please leave a comment

Thursday, February 20, 2014

How Our Grandbaby Ema Has Filled Us With Joy

How Our Grandbaby Ema Has Filled Us With New Joy

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!     Psalm 100:1 

When we heard the news we were ecstatic. Our daughter (my step) Lauren was having a baby. Oh what a blessing! There’s just something about a new baby.

Lauren and Tony had been together for many years, married for five, and in their thirties. It seemed like perfect timing to me. In fact, it struck me as an extra-perfect gift and uncanny timing this past August. Our youngest was heading off to college for the first time. I was heavy hearted as we settled Amelia into her dorm room, then hugged and waved goodbye as she set off on a wilderness retreat. So happy for her, but I would miss her so much. How could this be? How could this day have arrived with my husband Chris and I releasing our youngest child?

I was more than a little cheered when we decided we didn’t have to go right home.

A little avoidance by way of a visit with Lauren and Tony would be just the thing and they lived a few short miles from Amelia’s university. I was acutely aware of and looking forward to touring their new home and celebrating the impending birth of our grandchildinstead of returning too quickly to our newly empty home.

Lauren was a healthy six months pregnant and their new place was charming and inviting. Tony had a crew over to finish up some renovation before the baby came. Could this familiar scenario have been our reality 25 years before? That long ago and yet so recently?

The joy of what lie ahead took over the shock of what was behind us.

What would this new phase be like? Chris and I both loved babies. And we had heard so much about becoming grandparents. I have friends who are so smitten with their grandkids—their eyes light up, their smile widens, the pictures come out. Grandparents get downright giddy when describing their grandchildren or sharing a picture or telling a tale. You can’t help but share in the joy!

Would it be like that for me? Would I fall in love? Would I be aglow with joy? Would I anticipate every sound, smile, blink of an eye, wriggle, and giggle? Would it be different for me because Lauren was my stepdaughter? And not actually related by blood? I have known Lauren since she was two. She was a part of every weekend with her dad, my husband-to-be, and she lived with us starting at 12. We’re pretty darn close. Still, I wondered…

Well I’m here to tell you! Emalinda Elicia (named for her three grandmothers, including me) has brought this family unfailing joy since she emerged on the scene. Oh there have been the sleepless nights for her bleary-eyed parents, the worries (Is she eating, peeing, pooping enough? Nursing properly? Sleeping too muchtoo little?), and the adjustments to having a baby all the time! But there is a sense of hope and love and joy and newness and wonder and glee evident in every picture shared, every FaceTime chat, every sound recorded, every progress reported.

Yes, at 12 weeks Ema is a genius—talking, laughing, wide-eyed, walking (well not quite, but you know what I mean…). And we are smitten!

My brother-in-law asked about Ema one dayWe gushed, he laughed, and said, “Everyone is just so happy about this baby. Anytime any of you talk about her, you can’t help but smile.”

Ema is pure joy!

What brings you joy? I’d love to hear in the comments…

Today I’m visiting with Holley Gerth. She’s hosting a link-up every Wednesday called Coffee for Your Heart. Come on over and share your joy…

Let's Chat! Please leave a comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...