Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

Lessons From My Dad and Morgan May 31, 2011

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 8:18 pm

          My father lost his battle with cancer on May 28th, 1999.  Each memorial day, while remembering those who have given their lives in service to our country, I am also thinking of the loss of my dad.   I thank God for giving me such an amazing father, but it is not the anniversary of his passing that shakes my heart.  It is in the living of life that his memory shows up and I miss him most of all.

       Recently, I had an experience with a friend of mine’s little girl that continues to play in my mind and fill my heart with thoughts of my dad.  Morgan is the youngest of four beautiful little girls.  Their daddy is deployed in Afghanistan.  When her mom asked me if I could come over to hang out with Morgan so she could do some work in the yard, I jumped at the chance to spend time with her.  I knew It would be fun.

          Morgan and I began our play date by pushing her little toy shopping cart, packed with my purse, cell phone and some flowers she picked, up and down her driveway.  Eventually I found myself sitting in the middle of a sidewalk, at her direction of course, with our legs straight out before us watching for passing cars.  We sat, and sat, and sat some more.  Every car that passed was waved to and its color discussed.  Busses were the best of course, but trucks were an easy second in terms of bringing a smile to her face.  We sat and waved to strangers who kindly waved back.  We talked about the leaves and flowers she had picked on our walk and she took pictures of the cars with my cell phone…well, attempted to get pictures…there are many photos of an empty street on my phone now.  Before I knew it, her mom was done with her work and it was time for lunch.

          When my son was little, he and my dad, Paw Paw, would walk down the street and sit at the corner.  They would sit on the wood landscaping stumps that bordered the sidewalk and face the street.  They would sit there for long periods of time, just the two of them.  I often wondered what they talked about.  I wondered what was so special about sitting by the street with Paw Paw.  Now, thanks to Morgan, I think I know.

          I am not usually good at just sitting and taking things in, but I have noticed I am getting better at it each passing year.  It is probably a combination of getting older and actually having the luxury of time.   My visit with Morgan showed me how precious just sitting can be.  I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my time with her. 

          I had not realized it until then, but I have many memories of just sitting with my dad.  I realize now that often the times I miss him most are when I am being still.

          When I sit on our boat and watch the Ospreys swoop out over the water, I think how much he would have enjoyed it.  When a summer rain fills the sky with flickers of lightning and soft thunder, I think of how much dad liked watching the storms while sitting in the garage.  When I sit on the porch in the cool evening air, I think how much my dad would have liked to sit there too.  While waiting for crab to take my bait, I think how much fun my dad would have had if he were there.  Just this last weekend, as my husband and I joined friends on the bow of our boat to take in the beauty of the stars in the expansive sky, I just knew my dad could have laid and looked at those stars for hours too.   

          My dad knew the treasure of being still.  In his stillness, we found the gift of his time and attention.

 God waits to give us this same gift, all we need to do is be still.

 “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; …” Psalm 37:7a


My Beautiful Running Buddy May 17, 2011

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 8:29 pm

          It was a sunny day wedged between two very rainy days and a forecast for several more thunder filled days, so I decided to head to a local jogging/biking trail.  I like to jog along the Mount Vernon trail.  It passes through many shaded areas and offers great views of the Potomac along the way.   I figured it would be a good place to try to jog a bit farther than I usually do.   For me,running anything beyond 2 miles requires lots of effort physically and mentally.  After a long winter and wet spring, not running on a treadmill would be a treat.   

          While jogging on a manicured trail on a gorgeous day is for the most part a good experience, it did not take long to encounter some of the more difficult aspects of running outside of the gym.  After diligently hydrating myself prior to my run, I found I needed to stop at one of the public facilities along the trail.  Let us just say it closely resembled, in odor and appearance, the elephant house at the zoo. 

          When running outdoors you also encounter variations  to your environment…one minute it may be cool, flat and shady, the next you are climbing a hill in the sweltering  sunlight.  There is also the added enjoyment of spider webs.  I think each of the joggers/bikers who followed me that day owe me a great debt.  I single handedly took down well over 20 spider webs with my face and arms.  There is nothing like the feeling of stringy spider filament adhering to your sweaty face.  By the time I reached mile two I was ready to stop.

         I began the reasoning as I continued to run… “at least I ran two miles”, “I can walk the other miles and it should still count”, “I can run longer next time” and my favorite, “maybe I should wait until I am in better shape”.   I was ready to stop and walk the rest of the way, when my beautiful running buddy came along side me. 

          She swooped in like a super hero from out of the nearby woods.  She was a rather large butterfly with bright yellow wings lined with bold back markings. (I refer to her as a she because, well, to be honest butterflies do not seem very masculine for some reason)  I expected this fragile specimen to flit a bit around the path before moving beyond my sight.  Instead, she settled into a flight pattern alongside my knees.  She kept pace with me as we trounced along for almost a quarter mile.  I marveled that every step I took did not frighten her away.  I kept looking around for other people on the trail alternately hoping someone would come to witness it or that no one come to disturb it.  Eventually, she made one last swoop before my eyes and soared out over the Potomac River. 

          How odd, why would that butterfly fly so close to me for so long?  I was dressed in drab colors and after two humid miles; I did not even remotely smell like a flower.  There was no way she mistook me for a source of nectar.    I kept thinking of my beautiful running buddy and the boldness she showed to travel so close to me on my journey.  That is when I realized, I had jogged much farther while so wonderfully distracted.  I did not even notice another mile had passed.  I scanned the trail for more butterflies, wondered if she followed other runners, and quietly laughed to myself at the thought of what it must have looked like when she flew by my side as if on a leash.  Before I knew it, I was back at my car, my jogging journey finally at an end. 

          Tonight I am thinking of my beautiful running buddy and the power of just being there.  My running buddy did not push me along, hold me up, carry my weight, or make my journey less difficult…my beautiful running buddy was just there.  She did not whisper words of encouragement or say just the right thing at the right time.  She was not everything I needed to accomplish my task, she was just what I needed, something besides myself on which to focus.

          Sometimes we struggle to be the perfect companion for others as we journey through life.  We desire to be friends with just the right words at just the right time.    There are times God just calls us to be there…bravely staying close and quietly allowing others to look beyond themselves.  I am thankful for the many “ beautiful running buddies” God has placed alongside me on my life’s path,  those who have stayed close, shared their lives, and by their quiet presence help me go farther. 

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race which is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1


Seamless? May 10, 2011

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 9:28 pm

          We are attracted to a lack of seams.   We prefer the seams of our garments not be easily visible.  Much anguish has resulted from attempting to hang wallpaper with the seams hidden.  Seamless transitions are always welcome when there is a time for change.

           I can attest to the beauty of seamlessness.  I remember going fishing at night with my mom and dad.   Some nights it would be so dark you could not tell were the black night sky met the darkened bay water.  It made the world before me appear as if it were one huge endless space.  I recall thinking how this was both beautiful and disturbing all at once.  Yes, I can see attraction of seamlessness.  Unfortunately, life itself seldom delivers seamless transitions.

          The pinning together of our youthful years to those of our adulthood is often a jagged and painfully visible “seam”.  I had hoped to transition from being a mother of toddlers to a mom of teenagers with dignity and grace, that “seam” has numerous dangling and tangled threads.  Dare I even mention the inevitable changes that took place when my teens became young adults…yep, more unsightly “seams”.   When friends move away, loved ones pass, or life hands you a new set of circumstances, we try to carry on, and work hard to ease change, and smooth transitions.  We like our life to flow seamlessly.   Lately I have been thinking, maybe we do not need to be avoiding “seams”, after all, God celebrates His seams.

          Take a look around.  Our God does nothing to hide the seams of His creation.  Where the clouds meet the sky…a striking contrast causes awe to those who stop to take it in.  When the suns meets the earth, at dawn or dusk, on land or over water, there is no doubt God is shouting “Hey! Look at this!  Look at My creation!”.  When water meets shoreline, there is always a dynamic effect.  Sometimes it is the whisper of waves lapping; sometimes it is the roar of waves crashing, but it is never unnoticeable.  God shows His seams. 

          Perhaps this is because in the midst of the seams, he shows us His splendor.  Change, transition, contrast and conflict are all a part of life.  It is when we are experiencing such things that we often find ourselves calling out to Him. 

         How much better would it be if, instead of trying to avoid seams, or hide them, we celebrate the place where God brings things together.   It may not be smooth and seamless, but God is crafting us into His plan for our lives   Let us not be discouraged by transition, conflict, contrast or change, for it may in the midst of this that God is revealing His glory! 

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ. ( Phil. 1:6)

Let’s Celebrate the Seams!


Ox Poop May 7, 2011

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 7:41 am

          Okay, so this was to be posted last Tuesday.  I think every now and then, and those who know me may say more often than that, I succumb to my own inattentiveness.  This  week was filled with many life lesson moments and to be honest I struggled with where to begin.  I had failed to figure it out by Tuesday and  by Thursday I realized I could not let this week post be about anything but moms, mother’s day was around the corner.  Again, when it comes to moms there is just so much to choose form.  When faced with this task I did what every self respecting writer would do…nothing.  Yep, instead of stopping to focus and contemplate what God may have been laying on my heart, I just avoided my computer.

          All this is to explain why I find myself at my computer on a Saturday, determined to write a thoughtful, God inspired, blog post in time to honor moms.  I am beyond blessed in the category of “moms”.   My sister once rightly reminded me that we would do well to be even half the woman our mother is.  She has always been not just “there” for us, but she is the single most important influence on my relationship with my savior.  It was she who made sure I was in church growing up, exposed to the truth of God’s Word.  It was her example of how to live that I emulate and it is her resilience that to this day both humbles and inspires me.  I am doubly blessed with a mother-in-law who graciously loves me at a level no one deserves.  She is my champion and encourager.  I have never once felt like I was just an “addition” to their family, but a fully fledged, unconditionally loved member.  Both of these remarkable ladies have had decidedly diverse life journeys, yet both of them are examples of God’s grace to us all.

          I was looking for scripture that spoke of the strength and value of such moms when I found Proverbs 14.  Not only did I find a great verse, but I found a hilarious tid bit that will stick with me for years, as I hope it does you as well.

“A woman’s house is held together by her wisdom, but it can be destroyed by her foolishness.” Proverbs 14:1(CEV)

          What a humbling reminder that as women we can, by God’s grace, impact our family for generations, yet in our own strength, “foolishness”, we can cause those bonds to crumble.   My mom and mother-in-law are definitely wise.

         After reading this I began to read further down Proverbs 14.  I am thinking I am done with what God wants me to share, but I am wrong.   I laugh even as I write this of the gem God placed there for me today.  Proverbs 14:4 says,

 “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but much increase comes by the strength of the ox.” 

          Yep, as one commentary interpreted this, “there is no milk without manure”!   What a relief!  I must admit that after reading the value of a woman’s wisdom to her home, and the consequence of her foolishness, I felt a bit of pressure.  As a mother and wife I am often more foolish than wise it seems.  It is a relief to know that it is when life is “messy,” and the manger far from clean, that growth and accomplishment take place. 

I pray you have a blessed Mother’s Day.  Honor the moms in your life and embrace the manure that comes with living out life. 

 He is Lord of all!