Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Daily Gratitude Year 5-Day 18: Today, I am grateful for patterns.

Patterns are pleasant. In poetry and music, we call them rhythm and rhyme. My brain works a little freakishly in Dr. Seussical patterns at times. Song lyrics stick... where I leave park my car doesn't unless I establish a pattern of parking in the same place. Pieces of a song can... and do... get stuck on "repeat" in my head... thanks my friend Earworm who keeps on singing them. ''

Patterns are for people who need to express their God given creative breath, but are not sure where to begin. Mama Ina Mae, a seamstress, filled the sewing room with fabric and patterns from Simplicity, Butterick and McCalls. A pattern was a starting point for the creative leap. 

Chefs use a recipe. Some will alter it and make it their own, while others find their joy in picture perfect perfection that matches the image on the recipe card. 

Since God created us all to be uniquely woven in our mother's womb... we don't all find the same fabrics and prints appealing... or spices. Some like denim and leather. Others prefer tulle and lace. Some crave cinnamon and others cilantro (tastes like soap to me). The world is full of goodness. 

The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; (Psalm 24:1 NIV) It is all beautiful, but we do have personal preferences. 

One trip to Disney, I was on a quest to find "the biggest, tackiest earrings" I could find for my treasured friend Shelley. She was our Child Life Specialist when I worked at St. Jude. She had a silly and tacky earring collection. It was a conversation starter and relationship builder for many years for families new to cancer and the St. Jude community. She offered a little humor and hope into a scary time, with ridiculous earrings. The earrings became a pattern of behavior that increased comfort and broke the ice to build relationships. 

Now... the definition of "tacky" did vary. (On occasion, she would be gifted with a pair that I might actually wear with the right outfit... and we would laugh about it.) Wearing ginormous, tacky earrings became a pattern of behavior with a purpose for Shelley. 

The boys loved the cockroach earrings. She had trolls, skulls, spiders, flowers and more. Everyone was amazed she could pull off dangling cans of playdough from her earlobes. If they brought it, she would make them feel special for the gift. Then, she would wear them. No matter how tacky, how heavy or how ugly. The pattern was set and relationships grew. 

By the way, when I did finally find the "perfect" earrings for Shelley at the Wide World of Disney store... the mother of all Disney stores. I was a bit embarrassed by the truly tacky purchase. Randy briefly explained my choice to the check-out girl and sarcastically asked, "Now, aren't these beautiful?"  She smiled with Disney trained professionalism and replied, "We try to have a little something for everyone." We had to laugh. Oh my! They dangled more like mini Mickey chandeliers than earrings. Shelley accepted and wore them with her typical grace. 

Building relationship matters. Patterns of behavior help us do that very thing. Each relationship is special and unique and special in it's own way. Customs and cultural patterns help us grow in what we know and understand about the people in our lives.  

When Jesus disciples asked "How should we pray?", he gave them a pattern. We call it "The Lord's Prayer". I was intrigued when I stumbled on a prayer Nehemiah prayed that is very similar in pattern. In the garden, on the night before he was taken to be crucified, he, again, hit some of the same elements. 

Prayer can be powerful. How we pray speaks to the relationship and our agenda. Do we treat prayer like the drive through at McDonalds with our orders submitted, or are we true friends of Jesus and the Living God with a relationship built through patterns and prayer?  

For me... coffee, gratitude and Jesus is the best way to start my day. It's my pattern, but it doesn't work for everyone. Try a pattern and see what fits. If necessary, make some alterations and be creative. 

Today, I am grateful for patterns.

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