Hey Y'all!

It took me awhile to get here, but alas I'm finally joining the blogosphere of bloviation. It took a rant floating around in my head to send me toward this journey, but so be it. We'll have some fun here too. I promise. Thanks for stopping by! Don't forget to leave me a comment or two. ~ diane

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Don't Forget to Stop and Awe . . .

We woke up to yet another winter wonderland here in the Nashville area this morning. I'm guessing this may be about our 10th big snow this year, and without question, this is the most beautiful snow we've ever had! I absolutely love it, but then I don't have to get out and drive in it. Still, I could hardly wait to get outside and take some pictures. It had rained most of yesterday which made the snow cling to every branch of every tree. It truly is breathtaking.

I felt a sense of urgency this morning as I got dressed, to get out there and get my pictures before it started melting. I knew I only had a temporary window of opportunity to capture these images before they disappeared. Which accounts for why I was so relieved to get so many nice shots.

As I was crunching along in the snow, a thought occurred to me: I was quite literally walking in the midst of a gift. God knows how much I love His winterscapes. I have no doubt it's part of why He orchestrated our move from snow-less Florida to the changing seasons of Tennessee, now over a decade ago. He did it for days just like today. As I was surrounded by the near-blinding whiteness, I realized - once again - just how much He loves me! These glimpses of nature in all her glory are literally paintings He's given me to enjoy . . . way better than any 3-D spectacle Hollywood could ever come up with.

Do you ever experience that understanding? The realization that God puts you in a specific place, at a specific time, just to witness the splendor of His creation? Do you stop and thank Him for that gift, planned and designed uniquely for YOU at that moment in time? 

When we first moved here, I worked downtown and had to be at the office at 6:00 a.m. At certain times of the year, that meant I got to see the sun come up on my 30-minute commute. Sometimes it was hidden by an overcast sky. Other times, it was so gorgeous, I wanted to pull over just to soak it all in. The morning fog would only enhance the landscape, adding depth and texture to the picture surrounding me. I remember writing a song in my head about it during those morning drives . . .  

He wrapped the mist around the mountains,
And He painted the canvas sky,
With colors so true, shades of purple and blue,
Such a masterpiece to see! 
To think, He did it all for me . . .

Corny, I know. But I remember singing that song in my old van, with tears rolling down my cheeks. I was just so humbled that God loved me enough to put me in that place and time, with that panoramic windshield view, so I could enjoy His uniquely personalized, wonderful gift. 

I had that same experience in this morning's snowy wonderland. As I snapped my pictures, I could almost hear Him whispering in my ear, "Do you get it? Do you realize I did this just for you? Do you have any idea how much I love you?"

Yes I do, Lord. Yes I do.

Now it's your turn. When was the last time you let God "stop and awe" you? When was the last time you let His love wash over you in the form of a sunrise? Or the fragrance of a garden in springtime? Or the soft lapping of the waves on the shore? When was the last time you let the glory of His music fill your soul with hope and passion? When was the last time you let Him embrace you with a gentle breeze or make you laugh with snowflakes dancing on your eyelashes?

When was the last time you opened your eyes and your heart and let God love on you?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Blahs, Distractions, and a Shameless Book Plug

Is it just me or is anyone else having a hard time getting 2011 going? See this little cutie in the striped cap? EXACTLY how I feel. (Here's hoping it ain't gas?) No, I'm afraid it's official: I've got The Blahs.

I just can't seem to find my mojo now that we're well into the new year (assuming I ever had a mojo?) . . . I have so much I need to be doing, but I can't get my "want-to" to want-to. Know what I mean?

Could be the snow. Nashville was blessed with such a beautiful white Christmas this year, and we've had even more since then. Yeah, I'm one of "those" people - the kind who can't get enough of the white stuff. BRING.IT.ON. Granted, I don't live in Minnesota (hi Joy!) or South Dakota or up in Alaska . . . but I do love me some good snow. It's very calming to my soul, if that makes any sense. Doesn't bother me a bit to get snowed in for days on end. Even when the kids were younger, I loved waking them with those two beautiful words: Snow Day! We'd watch movies, make popcorn, sleep a lot . . . heaven!

Ah. Maybe THAT'S the problem. All this snow = sleep in my brain, thus explaining the slow start to 2011. Like hibernating bears. Could explain all these naps that keep invading my schedule . . .

Or it could be the Kindle my kids bought me for Christmas! For a book lover like me, I can't believe I'm already hooked on this gadget but I am! I still love my traditional books (I take turns so they aren't offended), but I feel terribly trendy whenever I whip out my Kindle and start reading. LOVE when my kids surprise me! 

I'm also back on Weight Watchers. Maybe it's the hunger pangs that are distracting me. Ya think? Great program, especially with their new PointsPlus system, but any time I'm watching what I eat, it seems like that's ALL I can think about! But hey - I've lost 6.5 pounds my first two weeks, so I'm a happy girl. Only a bazillion more to go . . . watch for some svelte glamor shots later this year. HA!

But I've gotta get moving. I've got several trips on the horizon this year. A birthday getaway/house & dog sitting weekend with my good friend Sally in a couple of weeks. Then, the end of February, a reunion weekend at a cabin in Blue Ridge with some long-lost friends of mine from our seminary days in Texas - haven't seen either of them in about 25 years! Even now, I'm resting my jaws for the gabfest! HOW FUN!! In March, another trip to Ridgecrest in North Carolina for a big church librarians annual event. I'll be helping lead a conference as well as taking part in a big book signing there. Then Ken & I are planning a trip to Boston the end of April to celebrate - wait for it - our 30th anniversary!! Woo hoo!! Can't wait for that one!

As we speak, my next book - Don't Ever Look Down: Surviving Cancer Together - co-authored with Dick & Debbie Church, is headed to press with an April 1st release date. It was such an honor and privilege to work on this book with two of my dearest friends. If you know ANYONE who has had to travel down the road of cancer, you need to get a copy of this book. Dick & Deb have opened their hearts to share their experiences along their cancer journey, taking turns by writing every other chapter to give their individual perspectives. Deb, an oncology counselor who was diagnosed with Stage IIIA breast cancer, gives a transparent peek into her world from the other side of cancer. Dick, a minister with a passion for mountain climbing, writes a compelling comparison of Debbie's battle with cancer to the difficulties, dangers, and triumphs of climbing a mountain. I know I'm ridiculously prejudiced about this book, but trust me - you've NEVER read a book like this. What makes it so unique is not only Deb's point of view from 18 years of counseling others with this horrible disease, but also the rare insights of a husband whose wife endured a double mastectomy. As pathetic as it may seem, many husbands in that situation don't stick around. Dick Church did, and he gives us a rare glimpse into the heartbreaking situations they've faced together. You'll be hooked from page one. That's a guarantee!

Sound like a pitch? You betcha! Preorders available now! Click here! And be assured I'll remind you when the big launch occurs. Consider yourself warned.

I've been so bad about posting these blogs. "Irregular" doesn't even come close to describing how often I don't post! It isn't that I forget. Just doesn't seem like I have much to say that's worth blabbing about. That, and the fact that when I do post, it's waaaaay too long. So the new rule is "less is more." Post more often, just shorter and to the point.

Which means this one is already too long. I'm outta here!