A Tale of Two Encouragers

The Scene: 5th Grade

The Characters: A music teacher, a mom, and an insecure 10 year old

The Setting: Small town Virginia, 1970s

In fifth grade, a very exciting and unusual thing occurred. Our young, beautiful music teacher announced that she was having auditions for a big musical, “Oklahoma,” by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Yes, the original Broadway version of the musical, edited of course for 5th grade appropriateness. Live music and everything.

We were all beside ourselves with excitement and nervousness. I went home and announced the news to my mom after school. She was a wonderful musician herself, and promptly ordered the “Oklahoma” album so that I could learn and practice the songs to get ready for the auditions. She calmed my many anxieties and steadily encouraged me that I could do this.

Auditions came and went, and lo and behold…..Ado Annie came my way. After a brief disappointment that I didn’t get Laurey (which, by the way, was much too high for my singing voice and not right for me), I dived into the role and thrived under my music teacher’s encouragement and direction.

Somehow, that group of untrained, untried fifth graders pulled off the musical, and we gained confidence and memories that would last a lifetime.

So thank you, Mom. Thank you, Debbie Greeley. You made a huge difference with your love and encouragement. Love, Lisa

P.S. If any of you reading happen to know this song, it will do wonders for your mood to sing along with it this morning. By the end, you will be singing your head off and loving it! 🙂

P.S.S. If any of you would like to share stories of someone who encouraged you along the way, I would love to hear them in the comments below. 🙂

P.S.S.S. Cathy Liles Sweeney….you better be singing along! LOL

The Choice

Each day is a choice

A choice for peace or war

A choice for love or hate

A choice for smiling or scowling

A choice for laughter or crying

A choice for following Jesus or turning away

The things of this world will call out for the negative

But Jesus Christ calls out for us to follow, to choose, to focus, to love.

c2021 Lisa Lyons

Dear Lord, please help me to make the choice, every moment, for the things of You. Help me keep my eyes fixed on You. Love, Lisa

Lessons From My Grandmother

My Nannie and Granddaddy, when they got engaged.

The more years that I add to my life, the more I realize the wisdom of my grandparents. I was blessed with wonderful grandparents that were of the generation that worked hard, loved quietly, stayed steady, and complained little. I was young, self-absorbed, and took them for granted. But I loved them, nevertheless, and I pray that they knew that.

As hard days seem never-ending and compounding lately in our country and our world, I have particularly been thinking about my maternal grandmother, who we all called Nannie. She was born in 1902, into a big family. She faced many early hardships and losses. Family losses, major moves, the Great Depression, both World Wars.

But through it all, she kept going. She worked hard. She loved her family. She didn’t quit.

I am remembering, and I will try to do the same. Here are some random memories and lessons I have been thinking of:

  1. Hard work helps to overcome anxieties. Nannie must have had anxieties, but she worked. Hard. Cooking, canning, sewing, mending, babysitting grandchildren. And when she sat, she kept her mind busy with constant crossword puzzles.
  2. Saving things for a rainy day is a good idea. Having gone through the depression and WWII, Nannie knew about economic challenges and shortages. She saved foil and plastic bags. She would wash them carefully, dry them, and fold to use again. She reused gift wrap and bows. She had reusable glass jars and wooden pegs and rope. We used to laugh about all the things Nannie had in her basement, but now I understand. She was ready for anything. She did not waste and randomly buy new things. She was careful with the family money.
  3. Music helps to calm and buoy the soul. Nannie loved music, especially the tunes of her Irish grandmother. She would hum them frequently, and loved watching The Lawrence Welk Show and Joe Feeney.
  4. Loving your husband, your children, and your grandchildren is a noble and wonderful thing. Nannie and Granddaddy met each other in 6th grade, and loved each other almost immediately. He loved her smile. They didn’t get married until she was twenty-five for various reasons, but they had a solid, steady relationship. The biggest smile I ever saw on Nannie’s face was one particular Christmas, when he held her hand, and she smiled at him. They were usually so busy, that I had never seen that before. But it deeply affected my child’s heart. Nannie showed her love to her children and grandchildren by cooking amazing foods, sewing them clothes, mending, being there always.
  5. Church and her faith in God were her bedrock. Nannie loved her church, her church family, her God. She always talked to us about it, and was a faithful member all her life. She is now a citizen of Heaven, and I so look forward to seeing her again. As the days continue, I am more and more thankful for my church family. They are there for us, supporting and praying. This will become more and more vital as these days become very challenging.

I could write on and on with many more lessons from my grandmother. I’m sure many of you also have wonderful memories and lessons from your grandparents. I would dearly love to hear any of them that you would care to share.

Love and blessings to you, Lisa

The Veil

Dalkey, Ireland

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face.” – 1 Corinthians 13:12a

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” – 1 John 3:2

“I AM the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – John 14:6

“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit. At that moment the curtain [veil] of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.” – Matthew 27:50-52

So many mysteries and questions that we, as human creations, have. But all of the mysteries and questions are answered in one name alone: the Lord Jesus Christ.

Open the door. He is there, waiting for you, because He loves you so very much.

Love, Lisa