Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Revival of the Front Porch Anyone?

What ever happened to the front porch? You know the kind, not what we now call a stoop, but a real porch. It can hold a porch swing or a few wicker chairs, no rugs needed. I remember sipping lemonade out of an ice cold glass as I chatted with our neighbor lady rocking on her old wicker chairs. We spoke of everything and nothing, we just sat there sometimes only sniffing the air and feeling comforted that God was still taking care of things.

People still walk their dogs, and some still walk the neighborhood, but there are very few neighbors sitting on front porches nodding or waving. No one bids walkers to come up for a sip of iced tea or a chat. We have gotten so busy in our lives that we need to hurry to get inside where we can shut ourselves off from the rest of the world.

Neighbors used to be "neighborly", now we only wave and smile or maybe even hurry past them without even a nod. Can we continue to live this way without paying a price and do we really want to shield our children from knowing the extention of our neighborhood? I am challenging anyone to take one night to enjoy your neighborhood, sit in lawn chairs and watch the neighborhood. Spray the bug spray if you must, but see how many people wave or offer salutations as they walk past. Then smile in your heart while you make plans to build on your own front porch, have iced tea with your neighbors and say "thank you Susan for reminding us of how to live."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fellowshipping, a lost art?

I remember my parents having friends from church over after church for dinner or a snack if it was after the evening service. My sister and I would watch late movies on Saturday or Sunday evening with our friends while our parents chatted. This was a good way to mentor our younger friends and encourage our peers. I miss that. We seem to be too busy with our lives like Martha when Jesus visited. We forget to be like Mary when our fellow Christians are available.

A friend called me up last week to see if she could come over to share a frozen latte, she knew I was laid off and wanted to encourage me. It made me feel valuable that she would want to come over to fellowship, to help mentor me and nurture our friendship. My mother would often have her friends over for coffee, I normally work so I have little time to do this, but I'm going to be better at this. Maybe if we all do better we will see each other as more caring and nurturing; and who knows maybe fellow shipping will make a comeback!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Life of Integrity

My sister was a lot of things but one thing she was not was a push-over. She was what Jesus talked about as the house built on the rock, she knew her foundation was Christ and she lived her life feeling no intimidation in the face of many trials in her life. She was a lot like our Dad, living life full of zest and rooted in integrity.

Integrity is a word that seems to be obsolete now, or maybe society has just changed its definition. Which makes me question: can we change the definition of such a word when society decides it doesn't work for them anymore? Isn't that in itself an oxymoron?

There was a time when we would arrive at work and clock-in without thinking about cheating the company if we were a few minutes late. Now it seems that we can not only avoid clocking-in due to our late arrival, but also lie about it when the boss questions us about the time we arrived. One of my co-workers arrived one day an hour and half late, yet told our boss she was there on time, she "just forgot to clock-in". Everyone knew the truth but no one said anything thinking that the boss would at some point catch on and call her on it, it didn't happen. In fact she received a few promotions after that.

This is not the only example yet of how attitudes have changed. It was not so long ago that had a child misbehaved in school or within his community, punishment from the offended and the parent would follow. Now we see more parents standing up for the child’s misbehaviors naming various “syndromes” at fault instead of realizing they are not helping the child by allowing the misbehavior to continue.

Do we have such small faith in our children that we cannot allow discipline to occur? Or are we afraid to “train them up in the way they should go” for fear that they will be walking alone without even ourselves as their mentors? It seems that in the work places and schools of our world, integrity has taken a back seat–it may even be packed in the trunk so we won’t have to be reminded of where our moral compass should be.

Has society’s definition changed or have we just shoved integrity right out the door like an unwelcome guest who has stayed much too long? I think this attitude of tolerance for lack of this trait has itself become an unwelcome guest or even worse a nagging relative whom we cannot separate from. I think it is time to stand up for ourselves and our children, to say we need to bring integrity back. We need to say we are sometimes wrong, that our children can also be wrong and then make amends to do better even when the people watching don’t seem to care.
The week my sister passed on a number of well-known celebrities also passed. Their lives were not lived with much integrity if any from my observations. Yet the world honored their deaths with a great deal of fanfare and my sister's passing seemed very low key with almost no notice from the world. But I know without a doubt that my sister has a place of honor now. I see her sitting at Jesus' feet like Martha's sisterMary, totally absorbed and still in awe of His presence. She lived as Christ wanted her to live, she was not perfect but had integrity and lived her life for Him. I think Christ would be proud if we decided to live our lives with more integrity a model for everyone.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Monday afternoon (June 22, 2009) my sister took her last breath on this earth. Suddenly it was like the oxygen was sucked right out of the room, my own lungs could hardly fill themselves and my heart fell to the floor. There were no tears left to cry. I had sat next to her since I arrived, holding her hand and stroking her arm while whispering “in a little while you will finally be completely healed, we’ll be together again soon” weeping; and then she was gone.

She was so tired near the end, and she often told visitors this. Her breathing grew labored with long pauses between breaths. I saw her haggard face and knew it would soon be over. My prayers were no longer for healing but for a quick and easy release; and it was. I feel so alone.

It was a beautiful afternoon with sunshine flooding the room, as if God was saying “I am here with you to comfort you and ease the pain of separation”. She was my mother’s oldest child; I am now my mother’s only child. She is with my father and all who’ve gone on before us. I smiled as I imagined Grandma with open arms proclaiming this new arrival to be her “little angel”, her nickname for Kathy. I could see Grandma embracing my big sister as they stood near the gates of Heaven. What a warm feeling I received as I thought about her new home, I miss her everyday and always will until we meet again.

About Me

Sometimes I go so fast that even I don't know who I am! I am an artist and mother to a fantastic teenage boy. Follow me as I share my passions with you as I live the simple life of being me. Read on and comment, and enjoy our journey together:)