fairest of all – solc2018#31

On this last day of the month, the end of the Slice of Life Challenge to write every day in March has arrived. Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for this inspiration and this opportunity.

This year, March ends and April begins on a high note.

We celebrate Easter as the pinnacle of our faith, the gift of new life after the cold, empty sacrifice made by our Lord.

Fairest Lord Jesus,
Ruler of all nature,
O Thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul’s glory, joy and crown.

Thank You, Lord, for Jesus.

I opened my front door to this view today:

Of course Easter comes in spring. New life springing up everywhere after the cold winter.

Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing.

Evidence of renewal and growth in every twig, each blade of grass, even in the pollen floating through the air. All brought forth by the Master’s hand.

How I wished for this view in the cold days of winter. But I could do nothing to make it happen. Except wait… wait with hope and with faith. And now, here it is. Spring Beauty, indeed.

Thank You, Lord, for spring.

Last night, the first clear, cloud-free night in a while, the full moon lit the sky and warmed our hearts with its luminous glow. The moon is mesmerizing to me: always a puzzle, yet lovely and unfailing.

And today’s sunshine, wedged between cloudy days of yesterday and rain predicted for several tomorrows, is energizing and uplifting.

Fair is the sunshine,
Fairer still the moonlight,
And all the twinkling starry host;
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heaven can boast.

Thank You, Lord, for the Light and Hope that Easter brings.

home for a lifetime – solc 2018#30

My precious older friend moved into her home when I was going on two years old.

She has lived my lifetime there.  And a large part of her own.

But now she has gone along with her children’s urging and sold her home. The first two offers were from people who were going to tear it down. The man who bought it is going to restore it. So she hopes.

Fifty-nine years ago, she and her husband restored an old gem and made it into a beautiful home, and a comfortable spot for raising their three children.

She once told us that the local history organization wouldn’t allow them to place a historic marker at their home because they had altered the original facade. “But’s there’s a marker there,” I said. “Oh, we bought that and put it up ourselves,” she replied.

Their backyard, which borders a city park, was a longtime home to a pair of buzzards, often written about in the paper. “They never got in my way,” she said. I suppose everyone felt comfortable there.

She loved for her friends to stop by and sit with her on the screened porch. No doubt she will miss that the most.

The large tree between the house and garage grew and grew and grew, raising the asphalt driveway into a formidable hump.  “Be careful and watch out for the tree when you pull to the back to pick me up,” she would always say.

My parents moved out of their home after 37 years. It was a tough, heartbreaking move for them.  It is now the same for my friend.

I can only imagine how hard it is to leave your home of 59 years.

What parts of your heart stay behind, whether you chose to leave them or not?

vision – solc2018#29

More road work in our area. This is the path I travel to get to our daughter’s home. The road is being enlarged from 2 to 4+ lanes (turning lanes in some spots.)

Someone has to have a clear vision to change the road’s path and its surroundings so much. It is incredible to me how the landscape is altered when roadwork is done.

There is a lot of UNdoing before any doing is accomplished.

  • trees are cut
  • ditches are filled
  • driveway entrances are demolished
  • fences are moved
  • electric lines are rerouted
  • dirt is brought in
  • rocks are taken out
  • bridges are replaced

And so many orange and white striped barrels line the way.

Have you ever eaten cookies like these?

Today I passed an area along the side of the road where blasting had lifted the ground and left a surface similar in appearance to these cookies. Cracked and separated by a powerful force beneath the surface:

Lots of trees have been cut down. On many that remain, branches have been trimmed, leaving only light colored circles against the gray brown bark of the trunk.

Were those missing limbs lush and full? Were the branches long, reaching towards the sky? I can’t remember what those trees looked like before.

Is that how it will be when this roadwork is finished? Will anyone remember how this place looked before?

Or will we be traveling so fast along the new road that we won’t take time to even consider the past?

Hindsight, they say, is 20/20 – but does this vision allow for that?

hallelujah – solc2018#28

A few years back, my book club read the Geraldine Brooks book, The Secret Chord.  (Note: I am not recommending the book.)  We tried to connect the title with this retelling (and oftentimes disparaging version) of the life of King David in the Bible. One of our grown children who came with her mom helped us by reminding us of the Leonard Cohen song that begins:

I’ve heard there was a secret chord

That David played, and it pleased the Lord

I have always been troubled by the words to Leonard Cohen’s beautiful melody, Hallelujah. They have seemed so bitter – almost unworthy of such a beautiful tune. (You can read those lyrics here.) I know he was writing about his own life, as everyone has a right to do, but both the encouraging title and then the lovely tune draw you in. However, soon you discover it’s not really what you thought (or wanted) it to be.

I was thrilled to know that a better story could be told. Kelly Mooney wrote an Easter version of the song. It tells the story of Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection, including this verse:

Took from his head the thorny crown
And wrapped him in a linen gown,
Then laid him down to rest inside the tomb
The holes in his hands, his feet, his side,
Now in our hearts we know he died
To save us from ourselves, Oh Hallelujah!

Many people were moved by this powerful version of the song, so Kelly Mooney decided to reach out to Leonard Cohen’s publishers. Now she has the official rights to record this rendition of the song.

This version, to me, makes the beautiful melody into a song with more truth and joy.

Hallelujah!

today – solc2018#27

Wedged between yesterday’s blustery clouds

and tomorrow’s torrential rains is

TODAY

Sunny, warm, spring-filled, breezy, satisfying today.

 

Thankfulness fills my heart for –

my husband’s quick return home from the ER

flexible schedules

healthy grandsons

our giggley granddaughter

being close to our children

a fun trip and safe return (for family)

a healing friend

plans for a kitchen remodel

unexpected home buying possibilities (for family)

chores accomplished

planned outings with friends

celebrating the hope of Easter this week

And I am so very thankful for today.

 

I am reminded of a song by Brad Paisley:

I don’t know about tomorrow
Right now the whole world feels right
And the memory of a day like today
Can get you through the rest of your life

exceptional service – solc2018#26

Recently I ordered something online, and then cancelled the order about 2 hours later.  I received this email reply:

Your order has been canceled, for the following reason:
* request from you
Your credit card charges (if any) have also been cancelled.

 

Hooray! I kept this email and I waited for my credit card bill to come, only to discover that the charge HAD gone through. So I sent the following email in reply to the one above:

Unfortunately, this charge, for a cancelled order, DID come through on our credit card bill.

In the meantime we have had a fraudulent charge and that credit card has been cancelled. We are waiting to receive another card. Please advise as to how we can have this amount returned.

 

I sent this email on a Sunday, because I had the time to do so, not expecting to hear anything right away (if at all). Imagine my surprise when I received this response within a few hours:

You are correct, and I apologize. The order was canceled immediately, so I’m not sure why the charge went through. In any case, please note the following:

* we have refunded the amount, Below is a summary:
Transaction ID: XXXX
Payment Method: XXXX
Amount: $XXXX
Customer Name: XXXX

HOWEVER, after reading your email more thoroughly, I realize that you might not be refunded for the charge since you canceled the card.

I will make our accounting department aware of this issue, and they can send a check to you. Is the address on the order the correct address to which the check should be submitted?  Please verify, and again I apologize for the initial error.

 

I was so impressed that I immediately answered:

Thank you so much for your prompt reply. This kind of customer service is rare these days. I will definitely remember this when placing future orders.

I am sorry about the card being cancelled making this difficult. Thank you for sending a check.

The correct address is…

 

And by this time I wasn’t surprised when I received another prompt response:

You’re very welcome! We’ve tried very hard to maintain superior customer service as we’ve grown. It’s nice to know it’s appreciated!  Hope to see an order from you in the future. We are here whenever you’re ready!

 

How could I not reply to my “new friend”?

I work with our local Library Foundation. Two years ago we ordered several frames from you for our first Student Art Show, featuring fourth grade art from each school in our two districts.  It has been quite a success! We love the frames and re-use them each year. But we are a growing area, and seem to add new schools every year. This year we had our third annual show, and needed more frames. There was some confusion as to who was to order them, and that’s why I had to cancel. I will be sure the “new” people have your contact information in the future.  I have attached a couple of pictures from the reception. The art is displayed in local libraries for the next year. Thanks again for your help! I appreciate it very much.

I certainly complain loudly enough when something doesn’t get handled efficiently, and I have even written about that a couple of occasions on this blog. SO it is only fair for me to say that if you ever need frames that open in the front, making it easy to replace artwork from time to time, you might want to remember this company:

dynamicframes.com

Facebook: dynamic frames @EZStoreFrames

IG:dynamic_frames

 

pixie dust – solc2018#25

Having a three year old granddaughter has brought me back to the Wonderful World of Disney.

We love to watch movies together – although too much screen time makes a grumpy girl. So we choose carefully.

Yes, she loves the Disney princesses. “Cinderelly” fascinates still.  She can sing “Arell’s” under-the-sea songs, word for word. And Pocahontas models what it takes to be a strong girl in a changing world (in both parts 1 and 2).

There are Disney princess puzzles, band-aids, and even a pillowcase as parts of her life!

Today’s animation of Frozen is so realistic, three-dimensional, and enthralling. Yet the original Snow White (Disney’s first feature length animated movie, which we watch on VHS in an old video player) still captures her imagination – and is often requested first.

Along with her, I have become taken with Moana. Have you seen it? The music is by Hamilton‘s creator (and it features the most realistic animated hair and water I have ever seen). It’s the story of a Pacific island girl who is destined for great things:

See the line where the sky meets the sea
It calls me
No one knows how far it goes
If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me
One day I’ll know
If I go there’s just no telling how far I’ll go

This weekend we have both been enchanted by the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast. Belle has long been her favorite, but even more so with this version. I didn’t think I could love it more, but I truly do.

The setting is a lavish, gilded French castle, perfectly designed, and yet not overwhelmingly garish, and the small town scenes reflect exactly how those places must have appeared. The animated characters – elaborate and romantic Lumiere, stodgy but finely detailed Cogsworth, light and airy Plumette, proper but sweet Mrs. Potts, and her charmingly friendly son Chip – all seem completely believably real. The additional parts of the plot tell the story in much more depth, and the newly created songs are hauntingly beautiful.

All those days in the sun
What I’d give to relive just one
Undo what’s done
And bring back the light

I highly recommend this masterpiece.

It is such a joy to view a movie that presents the happier side of life. There are always problems, but they always get solved. Today’s thinking veers away from setting higher standards, perhaps trying to prevent disappointment in not achieving them, but I believe high expectations are a good thing. And the beauty and joy of Disney’s worlds are delightful.

A little pixie dust goes a long way.