We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Brushstrokes of a Father

My mother would be proud of him. 

Five years ago, ill with cancer and waning in strength, she surprised my dad by asking me to take her to his art show at the Abington Senior Center. His smile showed how much her coming meant to him. He introduced her to his art-colleagues as they walked hand in hand around the room to view the paintings. We still talk about it. She passed away two short months later.

Photo by Ben Freda
Last Sunday, my sister and I made it point to attend this year's art show at the Senior Center. Barb arranged her visit from Indiana so she could attend, and my daughter and her friend also popped in to support "Grandpa." Live music, refreshments, and handshakes all around made it a memorable occasion. Ben Freda from the Abington Journal took Dad's photo and summarized the event HERE.  

Dad uses water colors to create his paintings . . . usually a still life or a scene from nature. At 82 years old, he attends class every Thursday after he has had lunch at my kitchen table and has helped me take my garbage and recycling to the curb. Our Thursday lunches have become a ritual for us, one I look forward to. 

As another Father's Day rolls around, I've been reflecting on Dad's brushstrokes in my life. He's modeled the steady colors of consistency, godliness, and loyalty. His dry sense of humor and funny comments add light to our conversations. His having lived many decades brings perspective to my thinking, and His love for God's Word challenges me to remember what's truly important when "the cares of this world" seem to be calling my name. We've both lost our spouses and understand loneliness and loss, yet we help each other move forward with God's strength and with grateful hearts.

I love you, Dad. Along with Mom, I'm proud of you, too. Thanks for the brushstrokes of character you've painted for me and Barb and for your wonderful example of quiet strength and hope. Happy Father's Day!

Here are a few samples of Dad's paintings, most watercolor:

This scene is done in colored pencil.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Summer: A Season to Enjoy . . . A Season to Reflect . . .


How we've longed for warm breezes . . . fragrant flowers . . . longer days . . . burgers on the grill. What plans do you have to take advantage of this new season? Will you take a trip to the beach or even to a national park or zoo? Are your kids begging to ride their bikes or go to the playground? There's something healing about soaking up the sun, planting petunias, and catching up with neighbors over the back fence.
During those chilly, damp days of late winter and early spring, I looked forward to summer. I enjoy my gardens (both flower and vegetable), my patio with pots of flowers, and the evening sounds as I rock back and forth in the backyard swing. The best part is that my youngest daughter is home from college for a couple of months. She'll be busy with online classes and a part-time job, but it's wonderful to have her here. I'm savoring our time together.

The past ten months have been busy for me . . . namely, writing and publishing my Leader's Guide based on Penned Without Ink. Thanks to Robin Wasser, my book is also now an audio book through Audible. I spoke at four different venues this past spring. I loved rubbing shoulders with women and hearing their stories of how God is giving them the grace to "run with perseverance the race marked out" for them. It has been a time of blessing.

Little by little I'm getting on my feet again but not without some time for prayerful reflection. Where have I been since my husband passed away three years ago? What has God been doing in my life? Looking forward, what would God have me to be and to do next?

I'm seeing the importance of evaluation and assessment - as I go along - so I don't find myself drifting to a place I never intended. Do you agree?

In my quest, I have come across two resources. The first is Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. He maintains that "essentialism isn't about getting more done in less time. It's about getting only the right things done." I checked out the audio book from the library. So far, it's been eye-opening. Some of what I'm reading will supplement my toolbox as I move into the future.

The second resource is Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul by Hannah Anderson. This book "reveals how cultivating humility-not scheduling or increased productivity-leads to true peace." My sister and daughter recommended this Christian book to me, thinking it would be especially helpful as I try to sort out my next steps.

So, enjoy this new season of warmth, growth, and a little less structure. Yet, let's not allow the season to slip by without also setting aside a little time for reflection. Who or what guides our thinking? Where are we going? And what will we do with the gifts God has given us?