Because you pray

wpid-2014-05-04-12.14.26.jpg.jpeg16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV

My sister-in-law and I have a code. Since we communicate these days mostly by texting, we know that if we get a text that reads, “Got a minute to chat?” then it is time to talk  – whether on the phone or in person.

She was my one of my “battle buddies” while my husband was on an unaccompanied tour, and then a few months later, when he and our oldest son were deployed at the same time.  She has listened to me rant and rave like a crazy woman and has seen me at my absolute worse – mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Continue reading “Because you pray”

This Is Why I Won’t Unfriend You

unfriend“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” – Thomas Jefferson

Something has been really bothering me for a while, and I have to just unload.

There is no surprise that we are a nation divided on so many levels these days. We can’t seem to find common ground on many topics. From religion to politics to the war of words between each other, there is an undercurrent of “I’m right, you’re wrong.” There are no disagreements between people anymore, as differences have evolved into “wars.” People have become entrenched in their camps, drawing lines in the sand, seeing everything in black and white, allowing no room for gray.

For the umpteenth time in several months, I have seen people post statuses on social media, and then request of their friends and followers the following: “If you don’t agree with _______ (fill in the blank), then unfriend me.”

Wow.

Whether it is political, social, religious or whatever, the premise is that if I, or others, don’t believe in their cause or with their opinion, they don’t want my friendship online.

But I also take that as they don’t want my friendship. At all. Period.

I take umbrage with that.

I am blessed that I have a huge family and many friends and colleagues. If I have sent a friend request to someone, or accepted an invitation from another, it is because I value the person and want to be in contact. I want to share in their joys, accomplishments and celebrations, offer support during tough times, commiserate about the weather, engage in dialogue, share recipes or great places to dine, see what is happening in their lives. I want to see photos of their family, vacation, garden, artwork or how much snow was dumped in their corner of the world.  I want to read their blog posts, or read what they found interesting or enlightening. For me, there is a connection with the individual – online and offline – and I feel privileged to be a part of that friend’s life.

But I am growing weary of the the “un-friend” me requests. I may not share your religious, social or political views. I may not like your favorite animal or artist or movie or music. I may not like your haircut or the way you clean (or don’t clean) your house. I may not like the state you live in or the hobbies you have or the car you drive. I may not like the charities you support. I may not like that you don’t support charities. I may not like the joke you shared or the beverage you drink. I may not cheer for the same team you do or like your stance on something or agree with your parenting views.

But I like you.

With all our differences of opinions. With everything that makes us completely different or polar opposites. We have a history. We have shared life and secrets and dreams and conversations.

I like you. My friend.

Why do we need to be in complete agreement on everything in order to remain friends? Why do our differences – or our perceived differences – have to be the end of a friendship – online or in person? Is it easier to let people out of our lives with the click of a mouse than over a meal at a local diner?

Maybe we can just chop our online friend lists so easily, because we see each other as a status with a profile photo and not for who they really are – a living, breathing person.

If I were to unfriend someone each time we didn’t see eye-to-eye, I would be posting statuses and photos for my own enjoyment.

Go ahead and unfriend me. That’s okay. But for the sake of friendship, I won’t unfriend you. Because with all that is wrong in this crazy world, we can’t have too many friends, whether we are in agreement on all subjects or not.

What do you think? Share in the comment section. If this post resonates with you, feel free to share with others.

© Lynne Cobb – 2014

 

A friend in need…

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“Anytime you suffer a setback or disappointment, put your head down and plow ahead.” – Les Brown

This past Monday was a day of disappointing news.

I won’t say it was a day of bad news. But on a day that the sky was dark and  cloudy, when the wind was cold and biting; when the strain of winter’s dreariness begins to take a toll on one’s soul, it was a day ripe with hopes of  good news to brighten the gloom felt both inside and out.

That just didn’t happen.

In the early afternoon, I received a text from my youngest daughter. She didn’t make the cut for an advanced choir for which she auditioned. She studied. She practiced. She prayed. We prayed. Her name didn’t make the list, and she was crushed. I was crushed for her as well.

“Can you come get me?”

Normally I would say “no,” but I knew she needed the comfort of her mom’s embrace and a private moment to console herself. So I called and excused her from class and went to retrieve her from the school. My temptation to stop and buy for her the biggest chocolate bar I could find gave way to the mom in me trying to reinforce good habits, and I didn’t want to send the wrong message of burying disappointments in food. A good cry, a big hug and some carefully, prayerfully considered words of comfort would be given, along with the space needed to examine the disappointment and to make a plan to move ahead.

She had the biggest, saddest look in her soft, beautiful brown eyes. A look of maturity with the hurt of a toddler. It killed me to look at her. I, too, began to cry.

“You have a beautiful voice, and it is truly a gift from God,” I told her. “Don’t let this disappointment get you down. He has great plans for you, and as hard as this is, trust that He will bring you through this and place you where He needs you to be.”

We chatted a bit more, cried a bit more, and then I left her alone, though I didn’t want to leave her side. A few moments to lick her wounds and cry into her pillow would be good therapy, and I continued on with the tasks of my day, tackling the to-do list as I checked on her throughout the rest of the afternoon.

Not too long afterwards, the dogs began barking at someone who was knocking at the door. On the other side were two of my daughter’s friends, bearing bags of snacks: her favorite chips, her favorite candy and a pizza-making kit. They brought all of her favorites, plus the love and compassion of friends who knew she needed them. My eyes began to well up at the love these young ladies showed their heart-broken friend.

I heard sniffles and giggles as they prepared the pizza, and squeals of laughter as the therapy worked – much better than a chocolate bar from mom. For a few hours, my daughter’s friends kept their pal company, had her laughing, and cast a ray of sunshine on a gloomy day.

During the time the girls were visiting, I received my own share of very disappointing news; where I was praying for outcomes that were completely different and unexpected from the ones I received. It was now my turn to cry, and to reach out to one of my friends for solace and comfort. It was also my turn take the words of wisdom I gave to my daughter, and apply them to my own circumstances. That, truly, was not easy, as I asked God “Why? Can’t I catch a break?”

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV).

I believe God places friends in our lives to prop us up when we have a hard time believing that the disappointments we encounter can be used for the greater good in our lives – or for others.

We may never know why we are dealing with the disappointments that we have been given, but with faith and the love and support of our friends, we will survive – and grow stronger from the setbacks we encounter along our paths.

How have you helped your child/children through a major disappointment? Share in the comment section below.

© 2013 – Lynne Cobb

Bruised bumpers and the Blues

“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”  – Sophia Loren

A few events over the past week brought me to this “A-ha!” moment: With age comes wisdom.

Heading to lunch with my husband, I was busy reading email on my phone when a huge thud jarred me: figuratively and literally. Some debris, either from the car in front of us – or kicked up by said car – walloped our front bumper. Talk about being shaken.

It was then I realized that my calmness, as well as my husband’s, was a sign of the times. In our younger days, we would’ve been madder than a wet hen at the young driver. She was completely oblivious to the fact that either she hit something or lost a large part of her car. With her tiny dog in her lap, I noticed the dents and dings in her car. She was completely unphased, and we couldn’t get her attention – as hard as we tried – to let her know what happened.

I didn’t even think to yell or scream at her. Maybe I envisioned one of my own children, having car trouble that could cause a major incident, and hoping that an encounter with another driver would be educational and not dangerous. Even when we reached our destination and looked at the damage, we were both surprisingly calm. Back in the day, not only would we rant and rave, we’d wring our hands and wonder how we’d pay for this mess, that was no fault of our own. Instead, we were thankful it didn’t break the light-housing or come flying through the windshield, which would surely caused injury to one or both of us.

With age comes wisdom.

Last weekend, we had the opportunity to attend an art gallery opening. The featured artist, whom we never met, is the husband of a colleague and friend of mine. She and I chat several times a week online and meet for coffee when we can. To be able to see her husband’s incredible art was a moment in our lives that we felt truly blessed to be able to share – alongside them and many others.

Exactly a week later, we had another great opportunity. Our neighbor and friend has been in the fight of her life. Diagnosed with a very aggressive, late-stage form of breast cancer, this woman has been a courageous inspiration for many. And just as it seemed that surgery, chemo and radiation had done their job, the bad news came. This fighter now had to face even more extensive surgery, just as she thought she had gotten back to her life. After six weeks of healing, doctor appointments and rest, this trooper was on back stage last night. And we were in awe. I firmly believe that The Blues were written for her to sing. Confident, smiling and blowing us away, she beat the crap out her cancer, and we were there to watch her comeback gig – completely in awe of her amazing talent. Who knew that this tiny little powerhouse could sing?!

But the most amazing thing happened after both of these events – and it was the humbled response of these artists. While we were so thankful for being invited to share in one of the most memorable moments of their lives, they thanked us for attending!

Hmmm…I think I am beginning to get it.

With age comes wisdom.

Back in the day, when I was a younger woman and desperately trying to seek fame and fortune through my writing, my focus was completely wrong. Please don’t take this as a judgement call, but in our twenties, many of us embraced our gifts as “ours.” We didn’t share – we had what I will call an arrogant talent. What will my talent get me? Some of us foolishly pitched that gift when it didn’t bring us the income or fame we thought it should.

Additionally, some of us shelved that talent when we started having families and felt pursuing a dream was a waste of time when there were kids to raise and an income to earn.

But as we got closer to or reached that half-century mark, the talent that was buried for various reasons began to sprout back to life. Maybe because we now have more time to nurture it, but maybe, I think, we have just come to realize how important that gift is.

We realize how fast time is ticking. I think, too, that we become confident in our place in life. Maybe we are a little less shy in sharing certain aspects of our lives.  Seeing that life has smacked all of us around by the time we hit this age makes us more humbled for sure, and most often, kinder to others. We have felt the sting of loss;  whether it was a job, a house, a loved one, or health. We embrace good news, and to celebrate accomplishments and talents of those around gives us time to pause from the mundane and experience joy.

We also change our attitudes when it comes to our talents. Instead of wondering what we get from it, we are more concerned about what others get from it. Our motives don’t revolve around making it big – they revolve around making a difference.

Will Doug’s gift of art inspire someone to experience the smell of paint and the feel of a brush meeting canvas? Will Annie’s gifted voice inspire someone to sing, take a dance class or play piano? Most likely, yes. But the biggest gift of all came from these artists sharing themselves – putting themselves out there for all to see. To bare their souls, not because they are awesome (which they are), but because of their choice to share their gifts with others.

God has graciously gifted everyone. Some have the gift of art, music, photography and such. Others have the gift of service; some have the gift of teaching. Still others can build and repair anything. Then there are others that can turn ordinary grocery items into the most extraordinary meals. Or grow beautiful flowers and delicious produce.

Our gifts are endless.

No one could have ever convinced me that going into decade number five would be one of the best times in my life. And, admittedly, there are days I long to be in my twenties again. (Sometimes it is because I long to see myself minus the little wrinkles forming around my eyes, or so I can wear short shorts because I’m not sporting these awesome varicose veins!) Seriously, though, revisiting my twenties is more because of my want to go back in time and smack that twenty-something me in the head, then bestow upon her all this wealth and knowledge and insight that I have today.

With age comes wisdom.

Here’s to settling down and not flying off the handle over the little things in life. Here’s to enjoying your older, wiser self. Here’s to sharing with others. And if you are burying that talent, unearth it today. I double dog-dare you to share that God-given gift of yours with others. In doing so, you will experience a joy that can’t be described.

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb

Versatile blogger award? Me?

“I love that this blogger writes about a variety of things from a variety of emotions.  One moment you will feel empathy with her, the next you will be laughing at her adventures and her look at life.”

I was kind of grouchy this afternoon. Okay, I was a lot grouchy. In the midst of a writing assignment with a tight deadline, one of our dogs got sick for the third time today. Woof. As I was rinsing my mop and bucket, I heard the email chime on my phone.

What a nice distraction!

As a new blogger, (and unhappy dog owner at that moment), forhisgloryandpraise.wordpress.com couldn’t possibly have known how much that nomination or her kind words would brighten my day! Thank you so very much!

So, in keeping with the award tradition, I will do the following, except for the 15 bloggers – I don’t know that many yet!

Thanks again 🙂

The Rules for this award are as follows:

  1. Nominate 15 fellow bloggers who are relatively new to blogging (or whose blogs you enjoy most).
  2. Let them know that you have nominated them.
  3. Share 7 random facts about yourself.
  4. Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you.
  5. Add the Versatile Blogger Award picture to your blog post.

Random facts:

  1. I don’t like cleaning up after sick dogs unless I’m getting an award
  2. My HGTV addiction does not show in my decor…
  3. or in my yard…
  4. My favorite ice cream is Haagen Dazs’ pineapple coconut
  5. I will always prefer to read my newspaper in print vs online
  6. My profile picture was taken when my granddaughter was three, using her toy digital camera!
  7. God has blessed me with an awesome family and wonderful friends

Here are my favorite blogs so far:

httpsss://liferevelation.wordpress.com/ – Inspirational and thought-provoking

httpsss://hastywords.wordpress.com/ – Emotional and open with her feelings

httpsss://modernchristianwoman.wordpress.com/ – Great recipes and beautiful pictures

httpsss://thethingaboutjoan.wordpress.com/ – Fun, family – like chatting with a friend

httpsss://onewomansperspective02.wordpress.com/ – A woman’s journey in grief

www.laferle.com – A wonderful collection of thoughts and essays

Blessings on your weekend!

A quick note to say thanks…

 

Gratitude is the music of the heart, when its chords are swept by the breeze of kindness.  ~Author Unknown

Just taking a quick moment to thank you all so very much for your support. As many of you know, I am relatively new to blogging. The fact that people are reading and responding to my posts is not only humbling but truly rewarding. The past few days I have received so many wonderful comments. Your “likes,” comments, personal notes and constructive suggestions are keeping me motivated.

There have been many changes in my life in the past few years, some good and some not-so-good. Transitioning from print media to other career ventures is just one of the changes and challenges! Personal changes, such as my dad’s struggle (and then his death) from Alzheimer’s; friends dealing with health challenges – both their own and that of their parents’ or children – and then losing friends way too soon have made for the more challenging times.

But the good has totally outweighed the bad. Had not these challenges been laid before me, my faith in God wouldn’t be where it is today. I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing now – writing. I wouldn’t have met new friends. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to reunite with old friends, create stronger bonds within my own family or leaned on my dear friends for strength.

I would not have gained an attitude of gratitude.

Again, I say from my heart – thank you.

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb