Tuesday, September 24, 2013
On September 24, 2007, one of the finest men I've ever known left this world to join the life eternal. Today, on the sixth anniversary of his passing, my heart and mind are full of memories of him. One of the greatest decisions my parents ever made for me was to choose my mom's friends Joe and Marilyn to be my godparents. We lived with connecting backyards and my two sisters and I spent many hours playing with their four children. Almost fifty years later, their youngest daughter remains one of my dearest friends. After my dad left our family when I was 11 or so, I foundmyself feeling rather distrustful of men. My godfather, in a very natural - and often humorous way, was able to love me in a way I desperately needed. At a time in my life when I didn't think highly of men in general, he reminded me again and again by his presence that there were men who not only could be trusted but would and could enrich my life. I still remember with joy eating Sunday dinners around his table, complete with delicious food and lots of laughter. I remember numerous conversations in the backyard and the smell of his ever-present pipe. As I became an adult, after marriage and two aamazing children, a subsequent divorce and returning to work, I didn't keep in touch with him or my godmother the way I would have like too. Even though I really regret this, I am reminded that their love and encouragement was always with me. So today I celebrate Joe and the life he lived, the family he loved, and the God he so lovingly served. I am so grateful for his influence in my life and that even after all these years, his fingerprints are all over my heart. Praying that you have the chance to remember with love someone who has left fingerprints all over your heart. May you rejoice in God's goodness and love as you do!
Thursday, September 19, 2013
I updated my iPad to IOS 7 which, if you're not an Apple fan, is the newest operating system for Apple mobile devices. I tried several times throughout the day, but there were so many folks trying to update that the download wasn't always available. After the download, I played around a bit to see how the new softward worked with voiceover, which is Apple's built-in screen reader. It worked great and I evvven noticed a few improvements. This morning I updated my iphone and was just as happy. As I was checking out the software, I was once again struck by a feeling of gratitude for Apple. For most of my life, I've been a Windows girl, despite my daughter's encouragement for me to try Appple. When I lost my vision in 2001, I was offline totally for months until the great people at the NJ Commission for the Blind trained me to use some screenreading software called JAWS which enabled me to use a PC. I was really excited to be able to use a computer again, albeit with a few limitations. Fast forward nine or ten years and my best friend - now my husband - took me to the Apple store to check out the new iPad 2. Apple, in an unbelievable move, had included a built in screen reader as well as accessibility options for hearing and motor impaired folks. It was incomprehensible to me that a blind or visually impaired person could use a touch screen and yet, after a bit of a learning curve, I found out that I could. Last year, when my old flip phone finally broke, I got an iPhone 4S and all of a sudden, I could text and do all sorts of marvelous things that I had been unable to do before. One of the most amazing things about these Apple products is that they are accessible out of the box. AWindows computer can be made accessible but the screen reading programs are costly - around $1,000. Sometime in the future, I will be ready to replace my old pC, which I only use for a few things nowdays since I am able to do almost everything I need on my iPad and iphhone and I am seriously thinking about checking out an iMac or a MMacbook. Not only do these computers make my life easier, but I want to show my loyalty to a company who has done a tremendous job of allowing people like me with physical challenges to have access to the same technology as the rest of the world. So today, I am thankful for Apple and their products. I am grateful for the whole new world of technology that has been opened to me. I rejoice that while once I sat in the dark, today I have the whole world at my fingertips. Praying your world is opened to something new today and that,, if you're an Apple fan too, you'll enjoy IOS 7. May God shower you with His grace and love as you do!
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
My friend, Filomena, who for the past 16 months has also been my mother-in-law is an amazing woman. She has a kind and generous heart. She is an amazing, intuitive cook. She has an incredible gift of hospitality. She is a talented artist. She would literally give someone the shirt off her back - she actually gave me her coat one day. On December 26, 2011, her beloved husband of 62 years passed away and her life changed dramatically. As she walked through her grief as well as a loss of independence, she did her best to create a new life for herself. A few months ago, she moved into an independent/assisted living facility and I watched again as she tried once again to adjust to a huge life change and do her best to create a new life for herself. It was heartbreaking to watch and yet, once again, I came away with so much respect for her and the strength of her character and will. On Friday, after learning from her daughter-in-law that Phil painted, the home where she lives arranged for her to have an art show. Her daughter-in-law pulled together oil paintings that Phil has painted over the years and in the lobby of the home, about 25-30 of her best work was displayed. The afternoon was made complete with a friend of Phil's playing the baby grand piano located in the lobby, a table of cheese and crackers and assorted snacks, and a crowd of family, friends, former neighbors, and residents of the home. It was a beautiful afternoon. The very best part was the happiness the day brought Phil. I kept telling her she was a star. It was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate this beautiful woman who has had such a tough couple of years. Phil has not been able to paint with oils since she moved into the home - she can't have turpentine needed to clean up in her room. An additional blessing from the show was that the activities director found a place where she will be able to go and paint with her beloved oils. So, today I am thankful for the chance to know and love Phil. I'm so glad that her daughter-in-law, Debbie made Friday afternoon a reality. I continued to pray for God's abundant blessings on Phil as she continues to find a new life for herself in her new home and that she will sense God's presence with her as she walks this part of her life's journey. Praying that each one of you will have the opportunity to celebrate someone special in your life. May God shower you with His grace and love as you do!
Friday, September 13, 2013
It has been almost a year since I've done any blogging at all. Ever since the crash of my beloved journalspace, I have found it hard to blog regularly. I've had my Random Thoughts blog here on blogger and yet have never managed to write regularly. About the same time as the great JS crash, I started a Thursday night praise service at church and the fifteen minutes or so during that service where I shared the message seemed to fulfill the need to say something that blogging filled. All of a sudden, almost five years later, I find myself longing to blog; to once again write down the significant and insignificant thoughts that pass through my mind. I need a place to do that and as I looked at my Random Thoughts blog, it seemed like in many ways, I needed a new and different space. As I thought about a title and wondered how I would come up with anything I liked as much as Random Thoughts, I thought about just wiping that blog clean - which I did accidently a year ago, losing most of my previous posts, but somehow that didn't seem right. A fresh start, a new introduction to blogging demeanded a fresh, unused space. All of a sudden, GraceNotes popped into my head and seemed just right. I am learning, more and more each day o live in the grace that has been given in abundance to me and which is more than enough for everything I need. May this space be a safe place where I can celebrate the big and little, significant and insignificant, the joy and the sorrow of living a life genuinely and with grace. Praying your day is filled to overflowing with the glorious grace of God.