Handouts are easy, Love is Hard!

This morning I was blessed by a conversation with a friend.  Her words affirmed what God has been teaching us at Break of Day (practical break for the single parent family in our community).  He has been taking us through lessons in love.

Every third Wednesday of the month volunteers and families from our community have dinner together.  We choose to eat together on purpose.  Those who believe are listening for God’s directives and watching to see Him at work.  Guests come to relax and put up their feet and enjoy a dinner they don’t have to cook for a change.  Collectively, both volunteer and guest are in need.  There is always room to learn more about love.

One of the first “love your neighbor” lessons I learned, was when a young man’s wife left him and their two toddlers.  He was distraught and paralyzed with pain.  We heard many had taken food to his house, only to find it rotten on the counter weeks later.

If that approach wasn’t working, what remedy was there?

First of all, what wasn’t working?  Do you see our flawed human mindset?

We’re not asking how the person is doing?  We are asking why a good meal went to waste?

Handouts, for the most part only serve to alleviate our own discomfort.

But what do you think?

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What is Your Mirror Telling You?

My bedroom mirror needs a pet name, she’s awfully kind to me.  When I get dressed for the day, quite often I’ll stop to take in a full view, and for some reason she always says “pretty”.  My body isn’t my pre-children shape, so how can I feel pretty?  Where do I find the strength to actually linger and take in all the wrinkles and stretch marks?  Perhaps it’s because my last glance always ends where the upturned corners of my mouth are.  That reality is more than evidence of “just” a positive attitude but a supernatural truth that dwells within me and guides my life.

Reality tells me that I’m actually times two of what I see reflected in my mirror, but that mirror and I know the incredible journey behind each imperfection.  More importantly Jesus, who in-dwells inside of my spirit keeps shifting my focus to health rather than obsession, eternal purpose rather than temporary possession.

I never knew my waist was going to disappear, kind of took that one for granted on account that my mother still has her’s!  But now I work on making sure I don’t have love handles.  Those sit ups aren’t going to carve out 24 inches anymore, but I’m going to be able to tie my future grandchildren’s shoes with joy!

I never thought I’d have difficulty with my hips, but then I remember my genetic makeup.  My gentle walking down the street isn’t going to cause heads to turn, but my husband appreciates my efforts, and shouldn’t he be my main concern?

But then again, I never expected to be this happy.  I never expected to be so in-love.  I never knew I could be full of this much joy as a size twelve with 49-year-old laugh lines and less than perfect legs!  Not only am I living and breathing – I feel as though I was just born, like I have my whole life ahead of me!

I’ve never felt younger than I do today.  Thank you Jesus!

 

 

Mendocino Majesty and Beyond

Early Saturday morning we made our way back to Mendocino for breakfast and Operation, Exploration, this time in the sun!  We found this amazing bakery/coffee shop “Good Life Cafe and Bakery” that sold fair trade coffee and home-made Quiche, breakfast burritos, and everything else under the sun – gourmet!  Looked like a “family affair”, Mexican perhaps?  We sat on stools by the window so we could people watch while we ate our burritos.  To our left on the street corner, we spied two angels with scythes (long blades usually carried by the Grimm Reaper) high a top a building that resembled a church.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to know the story, but the birds had no trouble keeping their company.

I noticed a sign across the street in front of a Victorian style, white house.  After breakfast, it was our first stop, and we read the sign; Sallie Mac.  Would you believe it’s French inspired?  Amazing, I found three chandeliers I wanted to buy on the spot, but didn’t.

We rounded the corner and on to main street, through book stores and gift shops, a particular ladies boutique packed full of “one of a kind” designs, made in L.A.  Lloyd found a plaid skirt Julie might like – not.  Hand crafted wood furniture, the finest we’ve ever seen, leather, wool – everyone knits or crochets in Mendocino, I’m convinced.  One particular kitchen wares shop had two vintage french chickens resting a top a high shelf.  I never knew I loved that stuff, I know now.  The only trouble is, my kitchen has no pink in it, one was a soft pink, the other a pale blue.  I’m going to miss their tiny heads and friendly disposition.

Once we had walked through every last shop, garden, gallery, connected path, back alley and side street, we hit the board walk that lead to a well-worn path, just past a white picket fence.  First the path wound its way through sea grass which then became overgrown with a plant that looked like wild raspberry, tangled and twisted, taller than my head and shoulders.  No wonder I had a hard time finding a beach.  No guard rail, no sign, just a tree, not sure what kind, but its canopy looked manicured and majestic, even if it was hanging in limbo between cliff and sky.  Speaking of “majestic”, “The Majestic” was filmed in Mendocino, so was Alfred Hitchcock’sThe Birds“.

the cliffs of Mendocino

There to the left of the tree was a young man-eating a bag lunch.  He looked lonely and I wanted to strike up a conversation, but I concluded if he wanted to talk, he wouldn’t be out here hiding under this tree!  To the right we spied hundreds of hand dug stairs in the side of a jut out cliff, leading down to a small sandy patch, you might call a beach, if your beach towel’s short.  Keeping my bad knee in mind,  we took pictures instead, besides there was no hand rail.  At the other end of the path, back through the white picket fence, lay a preserves shop where Lloyd bought his favorite; orange marmalade – home-made in Fort Bragg.

One more coffee for the road, from the same bakery and a plan to take the “coastal view” out-of-town.  As we got in the Envoy I looked up to see Elvis and Marilyn staring down at us from two upper story, Irish Pub windows.  The coastal view exit did not disappoint and we marveled at the parts of Mendocino we had to leave undiscovered.

Point Cabrillo, California

On our way back north, just before Fort Bragg we took a two-mile hike out to the Lighthouse at Point Cabrillo and got an hour’s worth of California history; ship wrecks, gold, Chinese imported artifacts mixed with native treasures.

Back out on the highway, I kept my eye out for another sign I had seen the night before – Caspar.  We took the turn out and wound our way down to a lovely hide-a-way beach, got out of the vehicle and walked out onto the sand.

Next up, north and out of Fort Bragg towards Eureka California, but we had no idea what lay before us.  Just a mile out-of-town, the coastal 101 took a hairpin turn, and straight down to reveal yet another breath-taking stretch of beach, rocks and tidal pool.  Quickly we pulled off the road and ran out onto the beach, snapping pictures, watching the waves crash ashore and felt the mist tickle our skin.

Just north of Fort Bragg, California

After a leisurely walk in the sand, we returned once again to our vehicle.  Before we jumped back in, I asked Lloyd to take a picture of how the trees formed a canopy over the highway up ahead.  We thought Eureka was just up and round another bend, but like I said before, we had no idea what we were about to experience…..

A natural “tunnel like” entrance to the Redwood Forest
formed by the tree canopy converging