Blessings Abound

Blessings Abound

As I travel around the country, through small towns and large, I notice the presence of many churches.  The stained glass windows of many catch my eye, as the sun glints through them.   I don’t often have the time to stop and take a picture, but when I am able, I cherish the moment.   There are times, as I travel through town, there seems to be a church on every corner.  Churches of different denomination yet, just in it’s presence, the message is universal.

Today, as we made our way through town, I began again to notice the churches.  I noticed the architecture of the different buildings, the windows, and most important- the open door of most.  As I was taking a quick snapshot of one such church, a kind gentleman asked if I had seen inside yet.  I replied I had not, and he smiled and said  ” come inside I will show you”.  I walked to the car where my son was waiting, telling him to come along and see inside.

As we walked inside Don, the gentleman leading the way, explained that this particular church, with its stone exterior, bell tower, rich wood interior and traditional stained glass windows, was designed after English country churches common in the 1800s. Built in 1892, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The worship space seats about one hundred twenty people and houses both a pipe organ and a grand piano. The sanctuary underwent a comprehensive historical restoration in 1993. Standing in the church with the sunlight shining through the stained glass windows, the beautiful woods of the pews and ceiling were so warm and inviting, a very welcoming building. I suppose if I lived in this town, I might make this “my church”, but since I do not, I will be content with my visit today.

We thanked Don for the visit and went on our way.  Even though I don’t live here, or worship here, I felt peace and comfort in his church, and, in turn, this town.  I know I will miss this area when we finally move along, but will take with me the blessings we have discovered.


My Mother’s Hands

I looked at my mothers hands the other day, and it struck me how much life I saw in them.  I marvel at those hands and recall all the strength and tenderness they have shown throughout the years.

When I was about 10 years old I had long hair, and I remember my mother brushing it into pony tails. She would quickly and softly brush it out and put the rubber bands in.  Also those summer days when I would come home from a day full of swimming and she would carefully untangle those same rubber bands, and brush out my now swimmers green hair.

Those summer evenings spent in the yard playing, watching as my mother would pull weeds out from among the patch of daisies that grew in the beds.  A tug here, a scrape there, the weed came out and the daisies bloomed.

Day after day my mother would fix our lunches for school. An assembly line of sandwiches, fruit and maybe a cookie, lovingly placed in a brown paper lunch bag for each of us.  Maybe not glamorous or our favorite, but always something good.

I remember, not long before my grandfather passed away, we were visiting and had tickets to a play. Because he was not well, he wasn’t going with us   I watched  as my mother took her father’s hands in hers, gently patted his hand as she spoke to him before we left for the evening.

It’s all those little things, the weeding of the garden the brushing of hair, the gentleness of holding her fathers hands in hers and countless other day-to-day activities.  Little things to be sure, but when I recall those moments in time I smile.  My mother’s hands- such strength, such life.

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How do you know when your decision is right?  Change can be scary and making the wrong decision can have unintended consequences. So how do you know?

Some things are easy, like getting a haircut.  Oh wait, as I have recently lamented, haircuts are scary and can definitely have adverse repercussions.   What if it’s too short?  What if it is cut so oddly that it takes months to grow back to some semblance of normal? People will stare, will shake their head, will laugh.   Best to stick with the long hair, straight, no chance of mistake hair.

School is easy.  Oh wait, maybe not.  What if it takes 6 years to get that degree? I shall be older then.  Not that I wont be older anyway, in 6 years.   What if I flunk out?  What if I don’t like it?  People will stare, will shake their head, will laugh.  Best to stick with what I know.

Work must be easy then.  Oh wait, maybe not.  I have to spend at least 8 hours A DAY there, sometimes more! I have to be on time, pay attention and do my best.  People will stare, will shake their head, will laugh.

Vacation!  That’s it, the easy one.  Oh wait, maybe not.  I have to have money, a plan, maybe even someone to go with me.  People will stare , will shake their head, will laugh.

Life, it’s not easy.  There are choices to make,  consequences to consider.  People WILL stare, WILL shake their head, WILL laugh.  But in the end, the choices we make are OURS. Not theirs.   They can stare, as you accomplish that goal, shake their head- in agreement- as you explain your latest plan. Laugh -with you- at your funny stories.

Don’t be afraid of change.  As scary as it might be, as hard as it might be, it makes us who we are.

A cut above

Let me start with, I am not a hairdresser.   Well, I have been known to take the clippers to my sons head, but that is to save all hairdressers out there from his fear.  Trust me,  there have been times when you  would have thought I was killing him not just cutting his hair.  That’s a completely different story, so back to the original thought.

Whenever I go to get my hair cut, I have an expectation that the hairdresser knows what to do.  I am hoping today is a good haircut day as I watch the hairdresser assess my hair.   Believe me, I know my hair is difficult, I deal with it on a daily basis. So why, why, why do they ask me- “how would you like it cut”?   I usually fumble around and try to explain what I want, hoping it makes sense.  I try to use the correct lingo, but I think I don’t say it right.  Is it feathered or layered? What’s the difference between tapered and rounded? Thinned?  It’s all so confusing to me.  Really, all I want is it to be cut the way that one guy did, 2 years ago, before he moved away. By the somewhat blank look from today’s hairdresser, I’m guessing today may not be the day.

After the initial fumbling request, she starts in.  That first cut.  Ok, so far so good. Nothing drastic I think she gets it. Pretty soon the scissors are snipping and the hair is falling, hey wait! why are you cutting it like that? That isnt’ what I want- or at least I don’t think it is. It doesn’t feel right. It’s never been done like that. Oh this is going to be bad.  Now it’s too late. I sit and watch in silence hoping it will turn out ok. I do give some direction, now and then, and it seems to be ok.  I wait for the final cut and the reveal.

I tried to explain how I like it cut on the left side so it will fall correctly but I am not sure it’s going to be what I said.  She is finished and I take a look.  Hmmmmmm. I guess it’s ok.   I admit, it’s not horrible.  I worry if it will look the same when I do it myself tomorrow.  No matter, it’s too late now. Any further cuts will just be too short or just wrong.  I agree that’s enough and  she removes the drape.  I head to the counter and pay the fee.

At home I head to the mirror for the obligatory brush and closer inspection.  I figure, it’s shorter it will do, at least for now.  It’s only hair and it will grow back.   Even now, a few days later, I am not thrilled.  Maybe  I should learn how to speak Hairdresser?

I do appreciate a person who knows how to cut hair. It’s nice the have that ability to help people present themselves well.  That’s what we all want, right? To present the best of ourself, to look good.   We judge people on looks and first impression.  Just remember, maybe the person you are judging  just doesn’t speak hairdresser.