...I was reborn in Murfreesboro. Check out these flowers (that I planted)!

Oh, a lot of things about me are exactly the same as ever. I'm social. I love good food. My reputation for loving (and creating) good food has certainly carried over from my "old life" to my "new life." As a matter of fact, I'm about to bake a sour cream coffee cake for someone I love (my sister-in-law, Cheryl, who turned 39 this week). I made potato salad and egg salad last night. And once the cake comes out of the oven, I'm planning to bake chocolate chip cookies.

My personality strengths and weaknesses are about the same. I'm as emotional and expressive as ever. But so many things about me have totally changed.

For instance, if you had shown me these pictures and told me ten years ago, "You will be planting twenty or thirty flower pots on your patio and taking pictures of them," I would have laughed out loud. I just couldn't imagine that I would ever actually enjoy having my hands in dirt. But I do. And this is just one discovery I have made about myself in the last seven years.

Some other things have changed, too. I've embraced the grace of salvation in and through Christ (steadily learning to let go of my perfectionism). I have come to know and experience the power of the cross. I don't seem to feel the need to explain myself to others quite as much as I once did. I don't constantly apologize for who I am. I no longer need the approval and acceptance of everyone around me. And yet, I have learned the freedom and rest that comes only through humility and repentance. I have learned there is a tremendous difference between constantly apologizing for and explaining myself in order to gain people's acceptance (which is self-focused) and experiencing the genuine conviction that I was in the wrong and need to humbly ask forgiveness (which honors God). I have also learned to repent and REST in grace, rather than flogging myself for days or weeks over a mistake. (My sweet son taught me this with his constant reminders each time I would go into my old ways of hammering myself for the smallest blunders.)

I love this picture because, to me, it illustrates the tranquility I have found in my new life. Peace with God. Contentment and joy in a fulfilling marriage. Being a grandma to three precious little boys. Enjoying my close family relationships...wonderful friends...being involved in a thriving, healthy church. Planting flowers...and having coffee...on my patio......admiring the blossoms on my Magnolia trees.

Life is good.
Life is precious.

I took 54 pictures this morning of the patio, the back yard and the pond. Don't worry, I'm not going to make you look at every single one of them. But this patio requires a lot of attention to keep it looking nice. So I am savoring the rewards of my efforts this weekend -- and preserving the memory.


Deb Light said…
I love all the pictures!Everything looks Beautiful and inviting!Save me a chocolate chip cookie,ok?

Happy Memorial Day to you and John,
Love ya,
Happy Memorial day! Know how you felt about the approval/acceptance issue..it is what I pray about every day!
Betty Kirschner said…
I love the patio pictures! The flowers are beautiful,your patio and yard are elegant. The beauty of nature is so peaceful. Thanks for sharing!!!
Betty Kirschner said…
I love the patio pictures! The flowers are beautiful,your patio and yard are elegant. The beauty of nature is so peaceful.
Thanks for sharing!!!
justme said…
Beautiful pictures, Shari, and I enjoyed the commentary that went along with them.

Hope you and John enjoy and wonderful Memorial Day today!
Shari said…
Thanks, everyone.

I still have cookies, Deb! And I sure don't need to eat them.

We had a great Memorial Day and I did indeed find some of that weight I had lost. LOL.
Jennifer said…
Love this post! Your flowers and back yard are beautiful!