Spring Makeover…sort of

It would seem the transition from the livingingraceland URL to my name has been seamless. At least on this end. Please leave a comment if you’ve experienced any issues on your end.

Now I’m looking for a fresh look for the home page so I’ll be trying out some different themes. Your feedback is most welcome as your view is the one I’m most interested in. With comments running rather low, let me emphasis this, please share some feedback if you find something particularly nice and especially if one is not it at all.

In some ways it feels like I’m learning this blog thing all over again but there is plenty to learn. My mind is rather full from a week of meetings and the upcoming Holy Week so let’s get to some fun stuff. It is the weekend.

Last week was spent in August, Georgia, a place we’ve bypassed in our travels.

It’s a small town and after visiting I think I can say with certainty it would be a blip on the Georgia map were it not for the Masters Golf Tournament held there.

The weather was sunny and pleasant and rainy and cold and then indifferent so we had a mixture.

Our hotel was along the river with South Carolina on the other side. Our room overlooked this river giving us a nice view of spring in this southern town.

Enough words, see for yourself.
historic district

historic district

the view from our hotel room

the view from our hotel room

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bee on blossom

sunrise over the river

sunrise over the river

Photo highlights of May 2014

A week late, but here’s a look back at May through pictures.

breakfast at the Huddle House in Starke, FL

Breakfast selfie at Huddle House (a first for all of us) with the nieces near Camp Keystone, FL

b-day cake

A surprise celebration

Sunday

Had to stop to snap these wildflowers along the road in North Florida.

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This roadside honey stand (honor system – leave money in a jar) has been on US 100 in N. Florida for 40 years.

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Birthday tulips from my favorite guy.

Henry Debby

Mother’s Day lunch with this guy

start to Memorial weekend

Our Saturday morning beach (Deerfield)

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A couple of days in Jacksonville with the granddaughter and her parents.

kk in pool

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Too much fun in the sun wore both of them out.

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This must be why it’s called Stone Mountain, near Atlanta, GA

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Georgia on my mind

Georgia is a state I’ve never lived it (there are 41 of those) and, truth be known, hold no desire to live there. I do have several close friends who live there and it was at the wedding of one last summer these pictures were taken.

The mount for which the camp is named, or vice versa. I’m not sure.

So many cute touches they had.

She was married in the chapel of Camp Grandview outside the town of Jasper, Georgia. It’s a tiny speck of a town nestled in the Georgia hills. It can be unmercifully hot there in summers but last year, in early June, is was normal hot.

Her catch!

We were there with my brother and his family and spent the morning walking down to the lake. The youngest niece doing a little fishing and the rest of us, well, as the picture shows, weren’t that interested.

Beauty is around us, waiting to be found.

In the broken places

Trying to do too many things at once the top to my sugar bowl slipped from my fingers onto the tile floor. It landed on its edge. Just the right angle to break it. The only thing holding the fragments from flying about was the rubber lining that made sure it fit securely to keep out moisture. This wasn’t a Target or Wal-Mart sugar dish but an oh-s0-pretty blue set I found in a little shop in Nowhere’sville, Georgia. It’s been one of those days.

It started with a lengthy dental appointment, part of a continuing process to replace a crown that broke a couple of weeks ago. I’m sensing a theme here: broken.

It’s a word that often comes to mind working in the recovery community. A reminder all of us have some kind of brokenness, and why spell check doesn’t recognize it.

So many thoughts about being broken are tumbling through my mind it’s hard to pull one clear thought out to examine it. Here’s the mishmash going on in what little gray matter I have:

….breaking the cycle, just enough to be strong in the broken places (Jars of Clay lyric), we must be broken and emptied before we can be filled for prior use….

My eyes are seeing this little sugar bowl lid, its pieces held together by the seal. It’s broken, but held together. There are chips missing so it won’t keep out moisture as its intended. It cat be patched but not repaired. Replacement is the best option.

Brokenness often begets brokenness. It’s a cycle for some. A wheel that spins round and round but goes nowhere. At least no where good. To break the cycle is hard. It’s like swimming against the rip current or being in a country where you don’t understand the language. You try to learn but it’s so hard and everyone else seems too far ahead. Too confident. They don’t look broken at all.

But we are, I suspect. Maybe cracks for some or seams starting to pull. Or maybe we’ve filled our holes with putty and painted pretty over it so it doesn’t show.

I wear a smile over my broken parts. It does wonders to make others think they aren’t there. When really, it’s the broken places that have shaped me. Shaped my heart and taught me how to see others who are broken. The gaping holes have been filled by grace. Grace smiles big and loves hard. Grace isn’t afraid of sharp edges some broken pieces have. At times the heart gets bruised and scraped and you wonder if there’s any left to give. And that’s just the time it’s there.

When I first heard this song I didn’t understand the contradictions but was so drawn to just that. The last verse and chorus says:

Confused enough to know direction
The sun eclipsed enough to shine
Be still enough to finally tremble
And see enough to know I’m blind
And see enough to know I’m blind

It’s just enough to be strong
In the broken places, in the broken places
It’s just enough to be strong
Should the world rely on faith tonight

I don’t know that I understand it any better but I know I see enough to know I’m blind. I know I find comfort that it’s just enough to be strong in the broken places. There is something, Someone, holding me together. It’s the seal he’s placed around my heart. Many times it feels strained and pushed to its very limits but I know it’s just enough to be strong in the broken the places.