Tiny treasures

Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.
Golda Meir

True life is lived when tiny changes occur.
Leo Tolstoy

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(a tiny Gray Hairstreak tiptoes on the sedum / Julie Cook / 2015)

In all truth, it is in the tiny, the small and the demure where we are to find real strength and value.
It is not to be found in the grand, the exquisite, the large or the garish for that is too easily recognized and assumed.

Contrary to popular thought, the tiny and small will never be lacking–for within those often hidden tiny treasures is a wealth of wonder and joy. . .

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(a tiny Gray Hairstreak tiptoes on the sedum / Julie Cook / 2015)

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(fiery skipper amongst the heather / Julie Cook / 2015)

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(a thread-waisted wasp visits the heather / Julie Cook / 2015)

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(fiery skipper amongst the heather / Julie Cook / 2015)

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(a most welcomed visitor to the heather, a honey bee / Julie Cook / 2015)

“But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? “Man does not know its value, Nor is it found in the land of the living. “The deep says, ‘It is not in me’; And the sea says, ‘It is not with me.”Pure gold cannot be given in exchange for it, Nor can silver be weighed as its price. “It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, In precious onyx, or sapphire. “Gold or glass cannot equal it, Nor can it be exchanged for articles of fine gold. “Coral and crystal are not to be mentioned; And the acquisition of wisdom is above that of pearls. “The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, Nor can it be valued in pure gold.
Job 28:12-19

The only thing that matters

And somehow all that matters now is You are holy, holy
Lyrics from Holy sung by Nichole Nordeman

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(a tiger swallowtail amongst the heather / Julie Cook / 2015)

Five weeks ago a phone call changed everything.
Just like that, life is different.
That’s usually how it all works. . .
A call,
a visit,
a move,
an accident,
an illness,
a beginning,
an ending. . .
then poof, everything that was, is now no more. . .

Today’s morning is the first morning that an opportunity presented itself for a small “work out.” Thoughts are lost in the music of prayer, as sweat and tears mingle down as one.
There is no longer an order or routine.
No evening out, no smooth path, no clear direction.

Tired muscles and lungs ache as a burdened heart slowly breaks.
The frustrations of a body’s betrayal, when time does not exist for such,
compound both day and night.
Calls, emails and texts dart in and out over the course of a day, a week, a month.
Each barrage enters with its own set of requests, demands or alerts.
Dread now slips in at the sound of a simple call.

Watching two individuals who are unhappy, confused, sad and depressed,
laboring to make sense of the day, the change, the sense of loss, is heart wrenching.
Sadness prevails in distant eyes.
Agitated, paranoid, fretful, threatening all collide into misery.
As the middle works at balancing life on two separate ends.

Racing to quench burning fires, while walking a tightrope.
You go this alone, because that’s all there is.
You miss those who are long gone.
There are no answers, no solutions, no words to make it all better.
Time becomes the enemy.

Overwhelming, exhausting, frustrating. . .
Consumed in the loneliness of one, the crushing knowledge of helplessness is suffocating.
Tears constantly perch just behind the eyes.
This was never how it was suppose to be.

But the question begs. . . when does life ever cooperate?

There is however one constant, one single factor, that does not vary or waiver.
It is the only thing which remains true.
It is what sustains the battered soul.
It is what propels the worn and tired body forward.
It is a knowledge so deep and entrenched that it is within one’s very breath.
Through all of the struggles and the heartache, it is the one remaining single truth to cling to and hold on to. . .
I am the Lord your God. . .and I am Holy

For this is what the high and exalted One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.
Isaiah 57:15

Time is of the essence

Time, the cradle of hope…. Wisdom walks before it, opportunity with it, and repentance behind it: he that has made it his friend will have little to fear from his enemies, but he that has made it his enemy will have little to hope from his friends.
Charles Caleb Colton

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(fiery skipper butterfly / Julie Cook / 2014)

For approximately the first 16 years of our marriage, we lived in the small west Georgia town my husband had grown up in, while we worked building our own life as a family. In all of those years, I can count on all of three fingers the times we had visited the local funeral home for either a visitation or funeral. It seems in those early years of our marriage, it was more my family in Atlanta that required our presence during the sad times of good-bye.

Eventually we moved to our current home about 15 years ago, trading in one small town for a tad larger small town. And as Life works to make certain she always has her way, the joys and sorrows of time have each overlapped and woven themselves to our world.

As all of a sudden, it seems that the ebb and flow of the passages of time has caught up with us, for during the past three months we have been back to that small town of my husband’s childhood, journeying to the local funeral home, on three separate occasions for three separate farewells–of both family and friends.
Maybe it’s our age, maybe it’s just the cycle of living. . .

No matter the reason one is called to journey to a funeral—reflection is bound to linger.
And perhaps the one thought that prevails is the very difficult concept of Time.

Our time on this planet is certainly not guaranteed nor can we control our time— that is. . . unless we tragically decide to cut our own time short. . .but let’s not go there shall we. . .

When an older person dies, we are sad and we usually attempt to reassure ourselves with words such as:
“they had a long happy life”
“it was time for the end of their journey”,
“they are no longer suffering”
“they are now with their loved one”. . .

When a younger person dies, on the other hand, we are sad and often times mad as we fight to understand the cutting short of a young life. We rile at the loss with words such as:
“why?”
“how could God do this?”
“it is so unfair”. . .

Too much time, too little time.
Yet one thing is certain. . .Time, both yours and mine, is of the essence.

When I was still in the classroom, I use to tell my kids, the ones who were called to “Cookie’s Office” for one of those closed door “talks” –which usually came on the heels of a wild weekend of which I had caught wind of, or of a poor choice made in or out of school. . . I would always tell them that none of us ever know when our time on this planet is up. . .when either something catastrophic and or devastating was to happen, suddenly leaving life as we had known it, changed forever.

Or on that off chance that Jesus decided now was the time and He was coming back as we spoke. . .how would they want their time to end? Would it be in the midst of some wild wanton bash, a drunken stupor, during the midsts of a very poor choice–is that how they’d want loved ones to remember them, is that how they wanted to stand before God. . .I wanted to get them thinking so that perhaps the next time, when the opportunity of choice was at hand, maybe, just maybe, they’d stop and think, or rethink, before jumping into youthful stupidity exuberance with both feet.

Time being key.
Time being crucial.
Time being the lynchpin in our lives.

No we have very little control over Time, but we can at least be somewhat mindful, prepared, and realize we don’t always have all day. . .
If I fell over dead in the next 5 minutes, would I be okay with the timing? Probably not, but I wouldn’t want to leave full of regret over the “wouldas, shouldas, couldas” . . .
Maybe I need to address that little thought, bringing order to my world so, God forbid, if it was in the next five minutes, I’d be good. . .to go. . .

Jesus explains that none of us know the time for the ending of this world as we know it.
“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:26)
Oh we like to think that we can pinpoint things, maybe make an educated guesstimate affording us the time to hunker down and be prepared.
But as Geoffrey Chaucer so eloquently reminds us,
“Time and tide wait for no man.”

May we be mindful on this Tuesday morning to make the most of our time. . .for we have no idea when all of our time has been truly spent. . .

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