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Showing posts from 2008

Looking in the Window: A Place for God?

My neighborhood in Marietta, Georgia, glows with bright lights. At the local malls shoppers fill their arms with packages. Employees in nearby office buildings bring sugar cookies with red and green sprinkles on them to work and swap presents at the gift exchange. Communities all across the country hold parades, put up red and green decorations and brilliantly lit trees. It’s the Christmas season. And I’m caught in the flurry of activity, the baking, getting together with friends, finding the right sweaters for my daughter and niece, the socks and aftershave my husband always asks for, the parties. It’s time to celebrate the bonds of friends and family.

But it’s so much more. It’s Christians all over the world rejoicing because Christ came to free us from the shackles of sin that we could not possibly shed on our own. By his grace, because of the blood he shed, the pain he endured if we accept him as our Savior, we’re no longer bound to an eternity of misery. Therefore, at this holy ti…

Looking Out The Window: The Sunset Club

When I think of Thanksgiving, all my blessings rush to mind, including the ones I often take for granted, such as food, shelter, clothing, family, friends, and freedom of worship. The many gifts of life in peaceful Marietta, Georgia, overwhelm me compared to the obstacles faced by many. But today I’m in Destin, Florida, on a fall vacation, seeing people I haven’t seen since last October. I’m thankful I’ve found a spot where I’m received with warm welcome smiles. One doesn’t find such a place easily in our busy world where we often don’t have time for one another, where we disagree on so many issues, where we have so many problems to confront.

Before I left for Destin I left the house to drive to the pool in Marietta to swim laps before the crowds arrived, ended up in the Monday morning rush hour, rode one hundred feet in a long line of cars, stopped, rode another hundred feet, stopped, started moving again when suddenly a red sports car zipped in front of me, missed me by an eight of a…

Looking in the Window: My Big Floppy Hat

This September, in Destin, Florida, when hurricane Ike hit Texas we were fortunate. Only winds strong enough to blow sand a quarter of a mile inland and a tide seven feet above normal blasted the area. Shortly after the storm the sun shone brightly on a beach tinted yellow by the waves that had crashed over it. Jelly fish, some in pieces, others entire blobs with their tentacles still in tact, cluttered it like monsters out of a horror movie. Other unidentifiable items, which appeared to be pieces of bricks, cement, and rusty iron, had washed up from who knows where.

This morning as we walked by the sea my husband, Rick, pointed out roofing shingles that had blown off the roofs of condos on our right and underpinnings that had pulled away from several buildings. Not a pretty sight, but we were grateful. The eye of the hurricane and the worst of its outer bands had missed us. Some children ran around us with their buckets and shovels, others charged into the Gulf on rafts while teens th…

Looking Out The Window: All Wind - No Rain

I first noticed the green leaves ruffling on the oak trees in the back yard on Friday afternoon, when I looked out the kitchen window of our Marietta, Georgia, home. My husband, Rick, entered wearing a pair of jeans and a green checked shirt. He picked up the binoculars he kept behind a plant sitting on the pine stand and gazed at the bird feeder. “Not much business out there. It looks like we’re going to get some rain.”

“I hope so,” I said.

All day long the branches swayed, but the air stayed dry. By that night the first of fall’s dead brown foliage lay on our deck, but not one drop of water. Saturday morning the blustery weather teased us again, seemed to promise a shower that never came. Disappointed, I told Rick, “There’s a storm outside with no substance.”

Then it occurred to me. When I’m not true to my religious beliefs, I am a Christian with no core just like a tempest without rainfall. I attend church on Sundays, but do I have a strong foundation that stays with me when I walk ou…

Looking Out the Window: Getting Through the Drought

Today it’s ninety-five degrees and dry in Marietta, Georgia. It’s been hot, the ground parched all summer. The lakes are still down, watering allowed only three days a week, and my hydrangea is so thirsty. Two years ago for Mother’s Day my daughter gave me the pretty deciduous shrub with two pink clusters on it in a small pot wrapped in green foil paper. I nourished it, made sure it had the right mix of shade and sun. Then at the end of the season I planted it near the house where it would get light and shadows. The next year it sprouted five blue blossoms. I later learned that was because the acidic soil had changed the color from pink to blue. One of my neighbors said I could bring back the pink profusion by putting nails in the ground beside my foliage. I decided to keep the blue. When my daughter came to visit she said, “Mom, what happened to the plant I gave you? Did it die? Why did you buy a blue one?”

It took most of the day to convince her that she looked out the window at the …

Looking in the Window: A Brave Man in Trying Times

It was an ordinary Monday at the company where I worked on the twelfth floor in Lenox Towers in Atlanta, Georgia. I sat at my mahogany desk, perused pictures I’d taken at the company picnic -- my favorite, one of a boy, who was the son of a man who worked in the computer room. The youngster swung on a long rope attached to a huge old oak tree. I put it next to the headline for the story, “Employees Have a Swinging Time.” I glanced up to see four strangers, serious-minded looking men in expensive pin striped suits. Without speaking to any of us they walked into my boss, Walt’s, office and shut the door.

The employee relations department sat behind the lobby wall with the busy switchboard, yes, the old kind with the cords. It was the late 1960’s. I gazed at Walt’s secretary, Leigh. She shook her head “no,” which told me she didn’t know who they were. It wasn’t unusual for Walt to keep his door closed, because all day long folks who worked in administration, the computer room and the law …

Looking Out The Window: The Stalker

The blue heron stood perfectly still in the warm morning sun on the white sandy beach in Destin, Florida. Six feet from a fishing pole and a bucket of live bait, the two-foot tall skinny bird moved not a muscle, his head held high. The fisherman in a beige fishing cap waded barefoot into the white foamy waves. He cast his line, and the blue heron slowly lifted his pencil thin legs, moving forward ever so precisely, ever so carefully. As soon as the fisherman gazed backward the bird straightened his slender body. When he faced forward again, the heron tentatively stepped with his long wiry feet positioning himself even closer to his goal. The moment the man glanced at the pretty light blue creature this finely feathered piece of the shore’s landscape assumed his statuesque pose. Over and over he and the man in the beige cap repeated the action.

“He thinks he’s a stealth bird that we can’t see as long as he isn’t doing anything,” I told my husband. Listening to the roar of the tide besid…

Looking Out The Window: Little More Than A Bread Crumb Trail

This morning I turned on the car radio to hear the emcee congratulate a woman for finishing a marathon in the top twenty-five runners. She said, "I just needed someone to believe in me." Giving background the announcer explained that she had wanted to run the race, but didn't think she even would be able to finish. A friend had signed her up. Then, she was committed. Today, she was exhilarated.

Listening to the story reminded me of a similar time in my life. I wanted to attend a writers' conference a little over an hour from my house in a place foreign to me. Each time I picked up the form to fill it out I recalled my terrible sense of direction. Then, I had visions of myself driving frantically down street after street, never finding my destination, or worse yet, leaving the site meandering on dark roads late at night unable to get back to the expressway. I know. When that happens one either asks someone or checks his or her navigation screen. I didn't have a GPS…