Tools of the Trade


My nephew wanted a foam hammer for his birthday. 

A few days before he turned 13, he sent me a link on Amazon for this $35 tool that’s not really useful for pounding nails or repairing anything.

I asked my sister what it was for {and if she really wanted me to get this for him} and she said it was a movie prop for the videos he shoots on his iPhone.

I know that my nephew loves concocting movie scenarios, texting his friends in the neighborhood with his latest cinematic ideas and having them all show up on my sister’s doorstep, ready for action.

But of course sometimes we {his family} show up in his moviemaking projects, too, and we don't even realize it. 



He’s filmed his dad in the garage building something out of a stack of wood, moving frenetically in super-fast motion, and he's constantly recording his sister in daredevil snippets, dangling from rope swings, swinging from trees and laying under a platform as he rides his bike over her.

Then there was me, an unlikely star, of course. 

I saw a photo of myself as the screensaver on his phone and I thought it was awfully sweet that my nephew wanted to look at me every time he picked up his phone.

Until I realized it was a video of me.




Apparently he sat across the table from me at a restaurant as I chatted away to my sister, unaware he was recording me blissfully eating a French fry. 

And I do mean blissfully. 

I dipped it ketchup, dangled it in the air, popped it in my mouth, and reached for another one. And another. And another.

All in super-slow motion, set to appropriately ridiculous music. 

It was the most unflattering, unbecoming thing I’d ever seen. 




I asked my sister if I really looked like that when I eat. 

She assured me I didn’t {although I’m not sure I believe her} and she told my nephew to delete it.

He said sure, no problem, but he already showed it to all of his friends and one of his teachers at school and they all thought it was hilarious.

What an inauspicious movie debut. But quite fitting, since my days are as far from a Hollywood star's as Florida is from California.



This time of year seems especially lackluster to me.

Such a long span of workdays ahead without holidays, yet the days are clipped short with nightfall arriving before I’ve even pulled my car into the garage after my evening commute. 

I have less than sparkling motivation for any activities other than what’s absolutely necessary to get by so I might as well turn in early with a book and hope no one wakes me until spring arrives again.

But what if I shine a different light on these winter months that seem cold and quiet? Maybe this is the time to enjoy the solitude and silence to search out more of God.



I spend so much time reading about God -- what writers and authors have to say about him -- until my head gets a little foggy and I wonder whose opinion holds more truth. 

But it's his words through scripture I need to hear more than any other words, for there lies the truth I'm seeking.

This kind of search is a contemplative journey, leading away from the spotlight, where I'm looking for scenes of perfect peace, lasting love and true joy that don't come from center stage.


The tools of the trade for a life deeply lived are introspection, consideration and adoration of God, that take me to places yet undiscovered, where no matter what the season, I can wait on him for more. 
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. -Ecc. 3:1
Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. - Song of Songs 3:1




My nephew was delighted with the foam hammer and hit me on the head with it just to prove how harmless it was. {It really wasn't all that soft.}  

But I've learned that from now I will only eat French fries when I'm alone and in the privacy of  my own home to protect myself from my nephew's pranks.

Which reminds me that I also bought him a prank kit for Christmas, complete with itching powder, fake blood capsules, and an amazingly realistic-looking rubber cockroach. 

After the video escapade I'm not sure why I thought this gift was a good idea.

But I guess it's just more tools of the trade for a freshly-minted teenager.



I'm having coffee with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart. Join me there to read more posts from my blogger friends!




Comments

  1. Oh my gosh! That is funny about your nephew but I can understand why you wouldn't want to eat around him again (at least the times he has his phone on hand). It's so true for me too that I read more about God than I do read God Himself in His word. Thankfully God uses pointers to point me back to Him, and your post has even made this clearer of what He yearns for His sons/daughters--that the most peaceful and clear spotlight is our eyes on Him! Lovely pictures again! (I booked a flight in April to head to Orlando and area with my camera, the trip inspired by you! Still have to make an itinerary but first step done!)

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    1. Lynn,
      I'm excited you're coming to Orlando! Once your itinerary is firmed up, let me know your plans!

      It's hard to separate truth from opinions sometimes -- which are good -- but maybe not necessary when I'm looking for clarity. I'm with you on keeping our eyes on him! xo

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  2. Oh come on, Valerie ... share that video with your nearest and dearest fans!

    Pretty please??

    ;-}

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    1. Linda,
      haha! I did think about sharing a different video where he asks me what "eyes" spells -- apparently Funniest Home Videos did it and I fell for it -- but even that didn't show me in the best light! :)

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  3. Nathan is too funny! Cannot get over the idea that you got him a prank kit!

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    1. Maybe I should have rethought the prank kit?! :)

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  4. Thank you for adding chuckles to my day, Valerie. Your nephew's antics are so funny. I'm sorry some are at the expense of your dignity though. Please just keep enjoying those french fries!

    I really love the thought of a life lived in the "introspection, consideration and adoration of God." Oh, how we need that! My mind, too, sometimes get foggy with reading opinions about God instead of dipping straight into what God Himself says is true. Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Trudy,
      Every new year deserves a little middle-school humor, doesn't it? Thanks for appreciating him -- and me! :) I tell myself I should read things that illuminate scripture, but sometimes I think I just need to go right to the source! I'm in an introspective mood these weeks and hope it actually continues well into the new year! xo

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  5. I alternately laughed and cringed over the thought of the french fry escapade...! And I am with you that January feels very lackluster some years and hibernating seems appealing! We had snow last Saturday and for 2 days I didn't leave the house. I could've stayed in a week more, but the grocery store and work called... And on a better movie note: a girlfriend invited me to see La La Land in the theater (a very unlikely thing for me!) at the beginning of the month and it was superb...! Maybe a worthwhile sister outing sans iPhone toting would be directors? ;) xoxo

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    1. Heather,
      Oh for some snow to hibernate! Your word made that oh-so-appealing and thinking of you stuck inside with some hot coffee or hot cocoa made me wish (almost) for the cold, white stuff! :)

      I was wondering how that movie was -- so I'm glad for the recommendation! It just might be a nice outing to get my mind onto a few lighter topics! :) xo

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  6. Dear Valerie, Oh I can certainly relate to those thoughts of not wanting to be awakened till spring! :-) But I love how you turned those thoughts around to letting God show us the good in the season of quiet and contemplation. He has so much to say to us in the tools of His Word that He gives us, doesn't He? Thanks for your words that bring encouragement to me in this Season also! Oh, and I was chuckling along with you about your nephew--remembering the teen-goofy years with my sons, and some of their pranks too! xoxo

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    1. Hi Bettie,
      I'd like to hear about your adventures with your sons since I can only appreciate them a little removed from the scene and grateful I don't live in them day to day! :) Hoping this quiet season brings us illumination and rejuvenation for the seasons ahead . . . xo

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  7. I enjoyed the story about your nephew and his videos- he sounds like a lot of fun! I identify with your feelings about this time of the year, but it is a good opportunity to take the time to slow down and connect with God.

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    1. Lesley,
      Thanks so much for being here -- yes! That is exactly what I want to do -- take it slow and ponder!

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  8. Hi Valerie! How fun- My daughter likes to make films too- It is much easier these days I think. Those french fries sound so yummy! I love french fires and sometimes I get a good craving for them. Winter is such a long season isn’t it! days are shorter but feel longer. I love your thoughts about searching out more of God. I too have thought often about reading less books and more of the straight Bible. When I take the time to write down scripture and contemplate like you have said God is faithful to show me something new- Things “undiscovered”like you wrote- so glad to connect here- highlight of my Wednesdays- :) xoxo

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    1. Hi Susie,
      Yes, this is our spot to connect until you're able to post again over at your place soon! :) Missing you! It's funny that I really don't eat French fries very much, but he managed to catch one of the few times I do so I'm sure I was really savoring every bite!

      I get so confused when there are too many voices -- and all good ones -- that I don't know whose opinion holds greater truth -- and I guess that's when I can only know that God's truth is the only one I can stake my faith on! Thanks for being here! xoxo Much love to you!

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  9. Oh, my! I would have been utterly mortified! LOL! He sounds like quite the little prankster, and now that you are on to his tricks, he won't get you again! Thank you for sharing your story...I must say, I was hoping you may have included the video clip at the end of your post! But, I surely wouldn't have done that, either, so I surely can't blame you. God bless you, sweet friend. :)

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    1. Hi Cheryl,
      Thanks so much for indulging my little family story -- I love it that you're here! And I could barely to stand to look at the video myself but maybe it would have been amusing! haha

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  10. I always always love the stories you share about your family. I can tell family is important to you. : ) they always make me feel like I am right there spending time with you and them.
    So I totally agree with wishing to read more of God's words. At least you read about Him from books. My substitute is Netflix. Sometimes I loathe netlfix. It feels like I have to force myself. Well I hope the past few months go by fast for you but also all the meanwhile memorable with more family stories and fun

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    1. Hi Kristina,
      So good to hear from you, friend, and your kind words are so sweet about my family stories! Can you believe I don't have Netflix?! I'm probably the only one but I still prefer good old-fashioned books -- the kind you hold in your hand! xo

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    2. You are not missing out too much with not having Netflix. Just another distraction lol

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  11. I can't stop laughing, and now I really wish I could have seen that video. And who can blame you for savoring every bite of French fries? Not me! ;)
    Winter has never been my favorite time of year, but it does have its charms. For instance, the other day I was trapped in the house because of ice and today I can wear flip flops. Gotta love the south!

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    1. Sarah,
      You are the sweetest to join me in my family story -- love you! And really, I was savoring every bite of those fries ---I think I forgot to mention they were rosemary spiced fries drizzled with truffle oil!

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    2. OH yum! I'm drooling just thinking about it. Glad there is no one video taping me. :) Love you and hearing about your life!

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  12. Dear Valerie,
    You are a wonderful aunt! Every time I read your posts about your niece and nephew, it is clear that you love them. So precious! Enjoyed reading your post :-) And yes, reading God's Word and being quiet before him and letting him speak to us...the best :-)

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    1. Hi Dolly,
      I so appreciate your sweet words about my niece and nephew! xoxo

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  13. Dear Valerie,
    How wonderful! I came over from Cheryl's place when she told me about you. I'm pleased to meet you. I blog at Harvest Lane Cottage.
    Have a great week.
    Laura

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    1. Hi Laura,
      Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope to see you again! :)

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  14. Hello Valerie, I (like Laura) am visiting you from Cheryl's wonderful blogging place where we met you, and so happy to visit with you today! In fact, it was hilarious to hear about your nephew's tricks! I would not put anything past the little guy, more prank videos are probably in the works with that prank kit, lol! Enjoyed my visit with you today :)

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    1. Hi Marilyn,
      Thanks so much for stopping by and I'm happy to meet you too! I so appreciate your very kind words about my prankster nephew -- thanks so much for reading! :)

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  15. Valerie this sounded like my oldest girl. She loves pranks and jokes. Just like her dad
    I really connect with what you said about all the different books you read and not knowing exactly whose opinions to hold to.
    I feel that way a lot. It is confusing. It's a mental clean sweep to just focus on The Bible. I think one reason it is confusing is because so many people are focusing on different aspects of their lives. God may be showing them different things. Too much info causes me to feel perplexed sometimes at just what I should be doing
    Focusing on the bible helps

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    1. Hi Somer,
      Then your daughter would love the prank kit -- it's on Amazon -- but for your own sake, you may want to think twice! :) I also think you are right on that God shows us different things according to our circumstances and perspectives and I'm glad they share their stories, but what one person does may not be a good fit for our situation. Loved these thoughts! xo

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