Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Stone of Offense

It happened over a decade ago.  All these years later, though, I can still see the moment as if it has just happened.  I can still see his face.

I was standing in a corner of the church during our fellowship hour when a brother approached me.  If I could have figured out a way to walk away gracefully, I would have.  Frankly, I had little desire to talk to this man.  I had been avoiding him for nearly two years, after all.  Oh, I was kind to him. It wasn't a sincere kindness, though. It was that aloof and tolerant sort of kindness that we believers are guilty of employing when we're trying to cover a grudge.

Maybe you can relate.

There was no place to run, though, so I held my ground and waited for him to speak. I'm so grateful that I did, too. What followed was the most beautiful lesson I have ever been blessed to receive.

Debbie, he said, 
I need to ask your forgiveness.  

Then, he went on to talk about the elephant standing in the room between us. The details of  said elephant are unimportant. Let's just say that he and I had not seen eye to eye on something that had happened to me. It was something that he had the influence to change, too. He just hadn't seen fit to consider the elephant from my side of the room.

Honesly? It hadn't been all that important to him back then.  Back then, *it* had been more of an annoyance. It was  a blip on the radar screen, a bump in the road, a molehill that I was treating like Mt. Everest.

But then, *it* happened to him.

And do you know why it happened to him?

I believe it happened because  this man is a true man of God. Oh sure, he's fallible, but as one who enjoys the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, he is also teachable. God knows that. By allowing it to happen to him, God caused him to remember when it had happened to me.

And when  God causes one of his children to remember, He is always calling us to act.

And so, he did.
Nearly two years after the incident, this quiet man of God approached me to make amends.

It was a brief apology. It didn't require a lot of words, anyway. All it really and truly required was a heart to go behind them. He couldn't fix it or turn back time, but his face and his heart were so sincere that I knew without a doubt he would if he could.  One thing he said, though, I can still remember word for word.

He said, "I was a stone of offense to you."

A stone of offense.

In the New Testament, that's the word skandalon.

skandalon:  (σκάνδαλον)
     Any impediment placed in the path, causing one to stumble or fall, a stumbling block, occasion of stumbling, i.e. 
a stone which is the cause of stumbling.

It's amazing how one little phrase can have so much healing power.  Coming out of his mouth that morning,  it was like chemotherapy and radiation to the spiritual cancer that had grown inside my heart. 

 You see, his actions had indeed caused me to stumble. (Did you miss the part about the grudge?)  They had made me stumble in other ways too, the kinds of ways that you stumble when hurt goes unacknowledged and festers into anger.      

Maybe you can relate. 

I have never forgotten that day, nor the gifts of grace he gave to me.

First, he gave me the gift of forgiveness. Within a moment, the grudge I had been carrying was lifted off of my heart and carried completely away. In its place was a deep and abiding love and admiration for that quiet man of God. I thank my God upon every remembrance of him...

He gave me something else, too. He gave the gift of good example. I learned how to apologize that day. I learned how to acknowledge that my own action or inaction might have caused another person to stumble. I learned how to take the spotlight off their reaction and  on to the stone of offense which had caused it to begin with. 

You know, the stone with my name written all over it...

There's a reason for the ramble this morning. As you probably suspect, something happened in my life recently that has caused me to remember that quiet man of God.  Maybe this post has caused you to remember, too.

Maybe, you're remembering a time when you were on the receiving end of a much needed apology.  Maybe, you were the one who gave it.

Or maybe... just maybe... you're remembering an elephant in your own room, a time when your words or actions (or lack thereof) were a stone of offense to a brother or sister...

...and when God causes His children  to remember,
 He always expects them to act. 

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift at the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them, and then come and offer your gift. 
~ Jesus, Matt. 5:23-24

(By the way, there's no statute of limitation on reconciliation. It's never too late until it's, well, too late. )  

...and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Comments off

But I am sharing at The Writer's Reverie for her new linky party, 
The example of the quiet man was pretty wise and wonderful to me. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Little Carpet Magic and a Lotta Cabinet Love

Remember my beautiful hand painted carpet?

Well, now you see it...

And now you don't. 

OK, you kinda don't. 

Please say you don't..

Even if you do let's just pretend you don't. OK?

In my recent yakabout, I mentioned the terrible, horrible, very bad, no good modern art  I had created on the living room carpet.  It was a dried on, chalk painted disaster, in case you have forgotten.  (And yes and thank you to those who commented with cleaning solutions. I did try them. Nothing made a dent. I think it's the plaster in the paint. Thanks a lot, Annie Sloan...)


We were just about to bite the bullet and purchase  new carpet for the whole room when a friend in the carpet biz suggested that we track down a good carpet man and at least try to patch it first.

"I said a good carpet man", he said. 
"And don't even think about trying this one yourself. "

Because, well, you know...

So that's exactly what we did.  We moved the corner cabinet that started the whole thing and used a piece of carpet from under it. (That sucker isn't going anywhere. It's the only place in the entire house suited to it.)

Then, the carpet maven pulled back the carpet and patched it from the underside  
...because apparently that's how it's done.  Who knew?

In the end, we were pleased with the result.. It cost a whopping $50.00 and bought us some time. New carpet was going to be over a thousand.

As for the corner cabinet that started the whole thing?
  I'm pleased with the result there, too.

I'm planning to leave the top doors open because I like it like that. 

The top has some of my Italian Countryside 
and my mother-in-law's Wedgewood. 

They play well together, don't you think?

The bottom is just full of the new Cameo Platinum that I've started to collect. 

I love how the bottom doors are different from the top ones.  

And see the tassels? 

Yeah, well, I kinda like them too.

For now.

As I said earlier, this cabinet was made by my husband's grandfather. 
He never did get around to putting knobs on the doors. 

No one who has used it since has wanted to add them.

My mother-in-law put those tassels there, 
and I'm leaving them right where they are.

For now. 

Pretty good start on the living room project, though, don't you think?

Now that the floor is settled, it's time to decide on the walls...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

When Easter Doesn't Feel the Same

Easter doesn't feel like Easter this year.

For one thing, it's cold and rainy.  We've had a constant drip for days on end, and the ground squishes when you walk on it.  Even if we wanted to slosh across the lawn for the traditional Easter picture, it wouldn't be very pretty. The few azaleas that managed to bloom before the monsoon have been washed off the bushes.

It isn't the half empty bushes that really bother me anyway, though.  It's the half empty nest.

The Practical One didn't come home for Easter. She's flying home in less than a month for another auspicious occasion, and it would be, well, impractical to come this weekend, too.

I miss her.

Actually, I miss it. I miss having little girls in the home. I miss Easter eggs and Easter baskets and Easter candy. I miss Easter dresses and white patent leather shoes

I miss the days of boing boing curls.

That's what my girls called it when they slept in little foam rollers. In the morning, their heads were full of little boing boings  that hippity hopped on their heads when they walked  like a hundred little Easter bunnies.

I miss the boing boing curls. 

I admit it. For a few days this week, this holy week, I actually got a little glum about all that empty nest stuff. I'm nothing if not human after all. I can fall to temptation just like everyone else, and the Deceiver tried very hard to make me do just that.  He tried to fill me with a spirit of Easter emptiness by reminding me of my empty nest. 

So I reminded him of my empty tomb. 

Sure, things change...but the one thing about Easter that will never change is the only thing about Easter that matters anyway.

Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, was crucified, dead, and buried.  On the third day, He rose again, fully resurrected, fully restored, and fully glorified, wearing a flesh that was absolutely perfect... right down to the scars.

Because a Savior without a scar is no Savior at all.

Just think about it.

I don't just say all that stuff, folks. I truly believe it.  Mine isn't a blind faith, either.  Mine is a a belief based on sight.   You see, I have seen the empty tomb.  

Not His.

I was dead, too. If you don't believe me, I can show you my scars.  I know what it's like to live in a tomb. It's dark in there, and the scenery never changes. Oh sure, you can try to decorate the place, but it doesn't really work. No matter how many grave flowers you try to spread around, the fact remains that you're trying to decorate a tomb. 

It stinketh.

But then one day, you hear the resurrection story.  Maybe you've heard it a thousand times before, but that day you hear it for the first time, and you do the bravest thing you have ever done. You dare to believe that it's actually true. 

And folks, I can't describe it any better than this: When you step out of that tomb, and the grave clothes start to peel away from your eyes, you simply know that it is.  

He was alive then.
He is alive now.
He will be alive forever.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Christ, the LORD, is risen today.


Comments closed.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Bend in the Road

Just a quick post from me this morning.

 I'm already more than fashionably late for the
 Note Card Party
 at A Haven for Vee. 

There won't be a lot of yakking to go along this post,  either. Frankly, I don't have the time to fill up the empty spaces between pictures with my usual noise.  Nobody wants to hear it anyway. 
You're busy too, probably busier than I am. 

Instead, I put some text with my photos to make the sentiment, and the reason that I chose each picture, self explanatory.  The inspiration was this first photo from a post written nearly four years ago.  

The bend in the road...  

... is not the end of the road. 

The journey isn't over just because the pavement ends, either.

And you know what they say about one door closing...

Sharing these melodramatic sentiments
with the note card party at A Haven For Vee

Monday, April 14, 2014

Repairing the Wheels

I've been looking for just the perfect picture to illustrate my life these days, and I think I finally found it. It's from a card that the Practical One sent to her grandmother. I think it sums it up pretty well.

First, an update on the Duchess.  

She is doing wonderfully! She's nothing if not determined, after all, and she is determined to rehabilitate those legs. She has done so well that the knee which was once broken into three bionic pieces is now considered her "good knee".  In a few months, she'll have her second surgery, this time to  replace the other knee. If she keeps this up, she'll be ready for a new gig by Christmas.

  Other than doing Duchess duty, 
I've been busy and  (honestly?) a bit overwhelmed.    

Right before the surgery,  we had the task of emptying  and dividing family treasure from my (late) mother-in-law's home.  Besides being emotional, the job was enormous. It took Two Men and a Truck to bring our portion to south Georgia. Much of it is being stored for the daughters. After schtuffing up the attic(s), we finally bit the bullet and rented a storage unit.

Just a fraction of it.


The rest of it  will take up residence right here.   (More about that soon...) The only thing I've painted is the inside of this wonderful old cabinet  made by Sir Lotsa Hair's grandfather. It was returned to its original (white) color.

OK, technncally that's not the only thing that got painted. 
The carpet in front of it got a white wash too. 

Yes, I used a drop cloth,
 and no, I do not know how it happened.
 I never even discovered it until it was too late.  

By the way, do you know what happens when chalk paint oozes slowly out of a container onto the carpet and goes unnoticed for a weekend because you're out of town?  It dries to a nice, hard, plaster. 

Seriously, it is so hard  you can knock on it. 

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Boo Hoo...

Have I ever mentioned that the one room in this house that  doesn't  didn't really need new carpet was the living room?  Yeah, well now it does...

... which would be the reason that this is yet another post which might be titled,
 "Why Debbie Is Still Not Getting New Living Room Furniture." 

Except that isn't true. 

I'm getting new living room furniture anyway.  

Yep. I'm as surprised as you are.  I would call it a pity purchase from all that boo hoo-ing, but it was actually in the works before the great carpet misadventure.  We were going to get a new sofa  and new chairs.  Now, we're just getting a new sofa and reupholstering the chairs... 

..and getting new carpet. Let's not forget the new carpet.

Regardless, I am choosing to consider the glass half full.  The fact that it is half full of paint because the other half dripped onto the carpet is irrelevant and should not diminish the optimism of this post. 

I'll spill more about this later, but here's a hint as to the color family. 

Surprise. Surprise. Surprise. 

In my head, I sound just like Gomer Pyle.

So, what's up in your corner of Mayberry?


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