Marian P. Merritt - Lagniappe

Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains

Monday, January 23, 2006

Dial B for Bluebird

On a lighter side…

These last few days Alfred Hitchcock has come to mind. Not because I’ve watched any of his movies or because I think he walks on water. Nothing like that. I’m feeling a little like Tippi Hendren’s character in The Birds. Then again, maybe not. I haven’t had my perfectly coifed hair picked apart by large birds.

For about three weeks now, a daily ritual occurs here at the “Merritt Bird Motel”. I hear a persistent “knocking” on each glass door to my house and the rear window of the room next to my office. The first time I heard this knocking, I walked to the door expecting the mailman—nothing. I returned to my office, again the annoying knock. As I peeked around the northwest corner of my kitchen, a bluebird stared through the kitchen door. I’m sure this is nothing more than some type of territorial attack with the nice little bird reflection. But everyday?

I confess, I’ve now come to expect the rat-a-tat-tat of the orange breasted avian. It’s almost as though they’re trying to tell me something. When I approach the door, the birds continue to peer into the window. We make eye contact. I’m spellbound. Ever made eye contact with a bird? A little unnerving. Today, one graced the window of my office. He perched on the screen and we chatted for a while. I know a little psycho, but it was kinda cool to be so close.

I know I’ve aroused your suspicion concerning my sanity. Please give me a shadow of a doubt. This is indeed a true story.

Suggestions for today: Find all the Alfred Hitchcock movie references in this post.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Fourth Days

This weekend I attended the A.D.V.A.N.C.E. Writer’s Retreat and reveled in the presence of many Godly woman. God showed up as well.

The three-day weekend proved to be a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the things God would have us do in 2006. In our writing, but most importantly, in our spiritual life. I floated on the wings of euphoria most of the weekend, cried tears of joy at revelations God chose to share, and filled with compassion when my friends opened their hearts. I can say with confidence that every woman left a changed person. I know I did.

Today, the fourth day, the day after this glorious three-day event, I sit at home and reflect on all God revealed and enjoy the new truths He’s put in my heart. I’m grateful to my friend who, despite great personal turmoil, remained faithful to God and organized this retreat. I’m thankful to the women who shared their dreams and their nightmares. Getting the opportunity to pray with them and for them has been the greatest blessing. Many arrived on Friday as acquaintances, but left as best friends.

I’ve prayed for the armor of Christ today, because I know after periods of spiritual victory comes moments of weakness. I want to be strong during those weaknesses and the only way to accomplish that is to shield myself in Christ. Today, I’m wrapped in the steel of His protection.

I expect great things to happen this year. This will be a year of growth in both my spiritual and writing life. I know because God promised. I came home with a renewed sense of purpose.
He’s called me to write “for such a time as this” and I would be remiss as a daughter of the most majestic King to disobey.
Therefore, I write.

Suggestion for today: Spend time with God today asking what He would have you do this next year.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Broken Promises, Broken Hearts

Yesterday was a great day. The sun shone. The air was crisp and clean (well, as clean as we can get so near Houston) and Bible study was rich. So rich it's caused me to do some deep soul searching. I’ve recognized some things that I’ve ignored for awhile. Things about my character that I’d like to change and can only do so with the help of God.

I thought I’d said all I needed to say about promises, but God seems to have other plans. Someone in Bible study spoke about our dependence on promises, not just from God, but from other people. We rely on the promise from the car manufacturer that our car will work, the house builder that our house won’t fall apart around us, our employer when they say we have a job, our friends when they say they won't repeat something we've told them in confidence, our doctors when they say this medicine should help, our children when they tell us they’ll obey, and our spouses for an untold number of promises.
How many times have we endured the heartache of a broken promise?
Been the breaker of a promise?

We can easily bounce back from some breaches in trust, others leave an indelible scar on our hearts. I’ve thought a lot about broken promises these past few months as I watched friends endure the heartache of broken promises and wondered…will they recover, have I?

I’ve heard many times that during our times of greatest need is when we realize the promise we have in Christ. I want to realize that promise before I truly need it. Bask in the comfort of knowing He’ll never break His promise. I want that assurance in my heart before the pain. I also want to know that His assurance is greater than the past pains also.
His promises give me all that I want. He gives me more than I can imagine when I trust and rely on only Him for my joy.
If only trust came easily?
It’s something I have to work on daily. Make a conscious effort to do.

My hope this year is that trusting God will be instinctual, not something I have to think about or make an effort to accomplish. I pray it’s something that comes first, before even conscious thought.
Sort of like...breathing.
Nothing is.

Suggestion for today: Forgive yourself.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I love-hate Rebates

Yes, I have a love-hate relationship with rebates. You know, those money-back marketing ploys manufacturers and retailers use to get your personal identification. I do love getting a check out-of-the blue several months after I’ve sent in the rebate request. It’s great. This usually happens when I need cash most. Which is pretty often since I am the world’s worst about having “carrying around money”. But, that’s where the love ends.

This is money I’ve spent on an item that should have been reduced at the cash register. It’s funny money and I’m sure these “rebate providers” are banking on the average American being too busy or tired to go through the hassle of sending in the necessary documentation. And to insure that the odds are in their favor, the process is grueling.

Case in point—my husband and I recently purchased two electronic items at our local “everything-you-could-want” electronics store. One price sticker touted a thirty-dollar rebate and the other offered a twenty-dollar return. Of course the fine print says: In two mail-in rebates. TWO! That’s two fifteen dollar rebates and two ten dollar rebates. Have they lost their minds? What kind of fast one are they trying to pull here? I felt duped. To add insult to injury, two of the four can be redeemed online (my preference) while the other two had to be mailed in with the original UPC code from the stiff cardboard box. I should have known something was awry when the sales clerk handed me a stack of receipts that resembled a legal brief.

So, in order to receive the fifty-dollar rebate these nice people promised (visualize tight lips here), I jumped through their bureaucratic hoops and “applied” for MY rebates. I feel so un-average…

Suggestion for today: Avoid rebates.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Covenant of Grace

Words by their meaning have the ability to conjure strong emotions. I have two such words. Covenant and Grace. These words resonate through me and leave me comforted. Reminded.

Imagine Noah’s fear during the next rainfall had God not given him the covenant of the rainbow. Without God’s promise, Noah would not have known that the next time rain fell the entire earth wouldn’t be flooded again. Still today, God has kept his promise to Noah. That’s a long time to keep a promise. Wish I could be so steadfast—well maybe not for thousands of years—for just a week. How often I’ve made promises to my children, only to break them when life’s busyness consumed me.

Jesus, is God’s covenant to me. He promises if I believe in His son I will have everlasting life. What a powerful promise. If only I believe.

I consider this my Covenant of Grace. He didn’t have to make this sacrifice for me, but did. I can rest in that promise and in the Promise Keeper. His grace has carried me in, through, around, and before many hard times. Messes that have been consequences of my stubborn will and pride. Messes that have occurred while out of His will. Yet, with steadfast love He’s covered me with His grace and kept His promise. His constant goodness in my unworthiness swells my heart with a gratitude that words cannot express. I know and find great comfort in the covenant of His grace.

Suggestion for today: Find a word in the Bible that evokes a strong emotion in you. Write your thoughts on your word from His word. I’d love to hear how God speaks to you through One word.

Friday, January 06, 2006

My Final Note

This morning’s news hit really hard. Mining victims left notes to their loved ones offering reassurance. Such a small gesture. Such grand rewards. To those left to mourn, these notes will surely become as treasured as their memories.

As a writer I’ve come to appreciate the power of the written word. A small note written during a time of tragedy has the power to give a measure of comfort to a hurting soul. That is power.

Their gestures stirred me. What would my final note have to say? Would I have a large enough writing surface to fix all the wrongs that need to be fixed? All the apologizes I need to make? Or will my only words need to be “I Love you and one day will see you again.”?

Suggestions for today: Remind your loved ones how much you love them. Take the necessary steps to mend rifts. Make sure your final thoughts could be written in one sentence. That may be all you have.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Writer's Write

Today's the day...back to work on my current work in progress, Legacy of Grace. It's been a few weeks since I've added "new" words so in keeping with my resolution to move closer to where I want to be. I will write. After all, that's what writer's do.
Things that do not count: Talking about writing, wishing about writing, reading about writing, thinking about writing--Today is about the process of adding new words to my story...AKA...Writing.

I'll let you know tomorrow how things work out...

Thought I'd add suggestions or tips to each post.

Suggestion for today: Keep a small toy or whimsical item on your desk to remind you to stop and have fun.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

One Step Closer. . .

Yes, I've entered the world of "blogdom". A step I would not have imagined just a few months ago. Why now? It's a new year filled with new challenges and new opportunities...
The title for today's post and the title of this blog--One Step Closer--is significant in that this title describes what I hope will be my motto, credo, mantra, mission statement (you name it) this year. A year of being one step closer to my Lord and Savior, one step closer to being the Christian woman I long to be, one step closer to being a healthier lady who carries less weight around--figuratively and emotionally, one step closer to being the writer Christ wants me to be, one step closer to thee....
I imagine by now you get the picture. Getting closer only requires one thing from me: To take a step, maybe just a small step, but a step none the less. If I commit to daily stepping forward, by the end of this year, I should be much closer to where I need to be. That seems so much easier than setting lofty goals. Wouldn't you agree?