Thursday, December 29, 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving memories...

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandmother’s house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.
Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandmother's house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for 'tis Thanksgiving Day.

This poem was written by Lydia Maria Wilder and published in 1844, about the joy of her visits to her Grandfather's house for Thanksgiving. The words and (many more verses) were placed to music, along with changing the word "Grandfather" to become "Grandmother".  I guess someone along the way figured "Grandmother" was doing all the cooking, so she needed a song to her credit. :-)

I think of this song usually around this time of the year, because believe it or not , it reminds me of the times when my husband, son and I would drive south for the Thanksgiving holidays!  We did travel over a few rivers and saw a few woods along the highway, but I loved our times spent on the road going south. Cups of coffee in hand, we were on our way in the wee hours of the cold November morning to "Grandma's house. We had the best conversations in that car, you name it!  My husband said it was the caffeine, but to me it was just a good time to get away from work and pressures. We didn't make it down home nearly as much as I wanted to, but those times that we did make the trip, will forever remain in my heart as such precious memories.

I remember making the call to let my parents know that we were coming. My Mom would take the call (my Dad didn't talk much on the phone) but she would repeat everything to him as I was telling her about our upcoming visit. It was a wonderful feeling to anticipate going back home to see them, and I knew they were happy that we were coming; now that I'm older I understand that more. I knew that my son, as a toddler was going to get spoiled beyond measure...he knew it too and couldn't wait to see his grandparents. For him, my son, it meant playing baseball with my dad in the backyard and my Mom letting him lick the cake batter off the mixing bowl, spoons and beaters!

Oh the food! Turkey, cornbread dressing, candied yams, Collard greens, Macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce, Glazed Ham, Butter beans, Potato salad, Hot Rolls, etc. and plenty of desserts!  My Mom was an excellent cook, we always said that she would have been a very successful chef/restaurant owner, because her food was so good!  She would always say "It's in the seasoning" and so it was!  One of her cabinets was overflowing with containers of different seasonings.

The weather is mild in the south where I come from and usually on Thanksgiving it is warm day in the 60's. So after dinner it was time to go visiting family and friends that lived close by. I miss those times...a full stomach of my Momma's food and then visiting loved ones in their similar cozy homes to catch up on our lives...priceless.

I miss my Mom's cozy kitchen, of sitting at the table while she whipped up a Sour Cream Pound Cake. I never understood and still marvel  how she could make such a delicious , moist cake all while talking and laughing with me. She could mix the ingredients, pour it in the pan, slide it in the oven and sit down to continue the conversation like it was nothing! LOL

I miss my talks with my Dad, while Ma finished her cooking, I would go into the den where he would be in his favorite chair dozing with the TV on. My father was a quiet man, a voice of reason. I still can remember some of the conversations we had, things he said in his own quiet way, but have positively influenced me and imparted wisdom to my life. He loved my Mom's cooking too, said she was the best!

Growing up in a home where we all sat around the table for dinner has had a great affect on my life and created a solid foundation.  Back then there were no cell phones, the TV was in the living room not the kitchen, my father sat at the head of the table and we shared about what went on in our days. My siblings and I had our disagreements and sometimes they got physical, but not at the table! Being at the dinner table was a time of coming together and, of being thankful for and sharing in God's bounty. My parents showed us how to be grateful for having food on our table and that we should never take it for granted and we were reminded of this when we said grace at each meal.  My parents worked hard to give us a better life than they had experienced and for that I am forever grateful. They left us a legacy of being thankful.

I will never experience my Momma's warm, cozy kitchen again, with all its luscious smells, or my talks with my Da in the den as Thanksgiving dinner was being prepared...but I have such lovely memories that will always be with me.

My Mom telling my husband that she was fixing his favorite Squash Casserole, my Da opening the back yard gate so that we can pull the car around, our first hugs before we go into the house,  and oh such warmth and love was in there as we entered!  All wonderful memories of our Thanksgivings together!  My parents and my husband have gone on to be with the Lord now, but these precious memories will live on forever in my heart and to my grandchildren as I share with them.

This Thanksgiving as we come together, may it be a time of peace, love and encouraging one another.  Enjoy and see it for the blessing that it is, this time that we have with each other on earth. Our differences and disagreements seem so petty in the realization that we have so much to be thankful for.

I am so thankful for my sweet memories, so very thankful that though we did not spend much time together, the times that we did are unforgettable!

Enjoy the food, fun and fellowship and most of all BE THANKFUL!

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.  Psalms 100

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Spiritual Maintenance...a responsibilty?

Housework may not be my most favorite thing to do, but I do enjoy the end results and that feeling of accomplishment. The clean floors and windows, the polished furniture and the sparkling bathrooms all make for an awareness of how blessed I am to have a home and have the physical ability to maintain and take care of it.

Whenever I hear someone talking about buying a home, I think and sometimes say to them, "It's not just about getting a home, but it's also about being able to maintain it, financially and physically."  I have seen so many times folks in their excitement to buy a house that may be out of their means, only to find in a few years the responsibility has left them frustrated. It is a responsibility that must be consistently maintained or you will find yourself in a very unpleasant situation to say the least...perhaps we sometimes do not count the cost (Luke 14:28)

In "counting the cost", the responsibility must be maintained whether you feel like it or not. As I was cleaning the bathroom this morning I looked at the walls and admired the paint job I did several years back, then I remembered that particular year I singlehanded painted 3 of the 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms!  It was winter and I was grieving and missing my husband so much, seemed like everything reminded me of him. So I decided to paint! I remember talking to my brother who lived in Vermont at the time and him warning me to make sure I had plenty of ventilation; so there I was in the middle of a cold winter with the windows opened and painting away! Now while I know that chore could have waited, to me it was necessary. It was necessary for me because it was therapy...much needed therapy as I talked to God the whole time I painted, telling Him all about my sadness, disappointment that my husband did not get better, sorrow in the actions and reactions of people and anger at myself because I thought that I was beyond those feelings. In a crazy sort of way I maintained my responsibility (home) and was being healed on the inside all at the same time.

As a child growing up I was raised to respect my elders (thanks Ma and Da) and now that I am an elder, I still believe that respect not only for elders but for others is very important. A former mentor of mine once said "Always remain teachable".  Being "teachable " for me means that I listen...I listen a lot to what people say, to what they do not say and watch their body language. No I am not weird, that's just me, and I have learned so much about people that way. Being "teachable" also means to always be willing to learn.  None of us have all the answers and we can always glean something good from people, whether we like it or not. I believe that in being teachable, you are maintaining your responsibility of becoming the individual that God wants you to be. People and situations constantly come in our lives that I believe are used to help us hone and fine tune our character. Philippians1:6 God who began a good work in us, will complete it...if we allow Him.

While we must maintain our physical bodies, maintaining our spiritual being is just as important. Saying that you are a Christian, prayed once for repentance or go to confession faithfully does not maintain your responsibility of calling yourself a follower of Christ. Take me for example, I ask the Lord over 30 years ago to come into my heart and gave my life to Him...or so I thought. But through out the years since that time, I have had to commit myself to Him many times. I had and still have to maintain my responsibility of becoming the person that He wants me to be...I have to count the cost and follow through. In my case there were layers and layers that needed to be stripped away, sometimes the process is painful but it is so worth it. Sometimes I did not feel like being taught through pain; made aware of short comings through embarrassment; or shocked by revelations, but the end results has been healing to my soul, renewed hope and restoration.

Ever watch HGTV when they restore a house? Makes me tired just looking at the process! Knocking down walls, tearing up floors, putting in new plumbing and wires...they make it look so easy. But in interviews I have read of the stars of those shows, it is WORK, but so satisfying when they look at the finished results. The finished results makes me happy too! Love you Chip and Joanna Gaines!

Maintaining a home is work, the process can be tiring, but what a joy when you see the results and can thank God for the blessing of having a home.  Maintaining our spiritual lives, is work, I'll be honest, but it is true, nothing worth having comes easy. Why? because when you have invested so much in it, you appreciate it more!  Ask the person that won millions in the lottery why it was so easy to lose it all in a couple of years, versus the person that worked for years to become a success and how they will have monetary gain to pass on to their children...

The great thing about maintaining our spiritual lives is that we don't have to do it alone.  God has promised that He will continually be at our side, helping, leading, instructing and encouraging us in all Truth. Be teachable, take time to sit in His presence, listen for His voice and trust that He is with
you. (John 14:26)

Even after more than 30 years of making a commitment to follow Christ in no way do I feel that I have "made the mark"...In fact the more I get to know Him, I realize that there is so much more to learn about Him and myself.

Ever noticed how quickly a house that is not being maintained goes to pot so quickly. There is an empty house around the corner from me and I've watched how quickly the property has gone down. The presence of life makes a difference, but it makes a bigger difference when that life appreciates the joy of having a home. Today let's appreciate the Truth that God through Jesus Christ has given us a way to our real Home and may we maintain the Road that He has prepared for us to get there.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Letting go...

Lying on the couch for a few days nursing a cold can cause you to do a lot of thinking, at least for me it does.  I don't know what it is about not feeling well physically that makes me do a lot of soul searching and inventory on my life. Maybe when I don't feel well, it reminds me of just how out of control I am. I mean, if I had anything to do with it, I would have nothing but sunshine, blue skies and perfect everything!  But we know that isn't life. Not real life anyway.

So for the past few days, I've been thinking how the Lord has really helped me to let go of a lot of things. Now I'm not going to let MYSELF go, so you won't see me in the local Walmart with pajama bottoms on, my hair in large pink rollers, teeth unbrushed and no lipstick! (I was raised in the south by a Momma that taught us to ALWAYS make sure you have on lipstick, because it was a sure sign that you were letting yourself go if you didn't!)

By letting go, I mean, releasing those things that have caused me to slow down in this race of life. Things that I did not understand, things that were frustrating, things that hurt, things...things...things!

I consider myself a person with common sense, level headed, with a stable and loving foundation in my childhood as well as my adult years, but there were still things that I was holding on to. Things that had become such a part of my life, I didn't even realize I was still carrying.

God set into motion my personality before I was even formed in my mother's womb, and He knew   me with all my strengths as well as my weaknesses...but I didn't know them yet. (Jeremiah 1:5) All my born days He has been calling me to Him, because He knew that once I committed myself to knowing Him, He would direct me to the correct path of becoming what He created me to be. But along that road, things happened. Before committing to Him, bad choices and wrong turns got me off course; but even after committing to Him, negative and hurtful words were spoken over me by people I trusted...and I believed them. Betrayal, fear of man, wanting their approval had sidetracked me and caused me to be blinded to who God really is. Instead of getting closer to God and flowing with the movement He wanted to be in my life, I found myself a fearful, looking nice and smiling on the outside, wanting to fit in the "in" crowd, confused person.

This morning, I was reminded of a "lesson" God showed me several years ago. Sitting on my back porch which was at that time an open patio, and it was this time of the year. As I sat there a gust of wind came by and the leaves on a nearby tree fell off and were caught up by the wind that swooshed them away. The leaves looked as if they danced with the wind! As I watched I "heard" the Lord speak to my heart..." That is how you must be, when my Spirit moves, be free to move as I lead you."  But because I am weird like this, I immediately looked over at the tree next door that was not affected by the wind at all and remained stoic with all its leaves in place. So I asked "What about that's leaves did not move with the wind?"  I know...I was just asking for it right?  Then a gentle answer to my heart came, "Yes, but what may appear to be alive, is dead but continues to hold on to what I have moved passed." I will never forget that!  And it was my situation...

Layer by layer, as I have allowed Him to...Wait! The Holy Spirit is a Gentleman (for lack of a better description), so He does not force Himself on yes, as I ALLOWED Him, He came in and began the sometime very painful surgery of exposing and peeling away all the impressions I had of myself, what I thought was good and the misinformed bad. Those feelings of wanting to fit in? Crazy! I never will fit in, I am unique and so are you! I LOVE people and love being around them, but I also LOVE going off to myself to sense God's presence, even as a child you could find me up in our backyard Chinaberry tree gazing off into the distance and enjoying my alone time. That's just me. For me it is in those quiet times that I find the strength to let go of things that have hindered me from walking in the freedom of God's Spirit. So I'm different...its a good thing!    :-)

For so many years I hung on to people that were only meant to be in my life for a season, I hung on to lies that unintentional people spoke over me and the lies I believed about myself. I believed that my strengths were my weaknesses  while allowing my weaknesses to become strongholds. I was jacked up ok?  But God wanted me to LET GO, to dance with Him in the wind of His Spirit. He wanted me to leave the old things behind and enter into a newness with Him. He wanted me to get to know Him and dance with Him in the wind. (I'm a little theatrical there, but you get my drift)     :-)

One thing about letting may be misunderstood...why? Because letting go changes you. Things that used to bother you, just don't get to you like they used to. You may find yourself enjoying life more;  loving people for who they are and stop trying to change them. You may find yourself being easier to be around, the tension of expectation is gone. You may find yourself more content and at peace...with yourself and others.  You may find that God is working those things out that you wasted so much time trying to fix. What a joy!  God wants to do a new thing in all of us, but we must first let go of the things that keeps us bound to the things He has already passed over. He does not ignore but uses all things in our experience to make us closer to Him; stronger and at peace with Him.

I don't want to have the appearance of being alive while still clinging to old things of the past, but I  want to  flow with Him into a new season of freedom... this is my prayer!

"BeholdI will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? Iwill even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Waiting on God...

"But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

When did it happen? When did I stop worrying or being anxious?  Those were the questions I asked myself this morning as I sat in my favorite spot on the back porch. For many years now that spot has become my sanctuary , if you will, my quiet place to talk to and hear from God. I have learned to tell Him about all that is in my heart and on my mind; what troubles me, as well and what I take delight, and He answers...sometimes in the gentle wind blowing across my face, sometimes in a bird's solo among many of them chirping their morning songs, and sometimes in a child's distant laugh... and sometimes in just the quietness of the morning...He speaks to my heart.

This morning when I flung those questions out I was thinking about how I used to worry so much about what the next step in my life would be. You see as a girl, I always wanted to be a wife and a mother. I was blessed by God to enjoy those positions for many years, but when I became an empty nester and widow ( in that order)  I no longer had the joy of having those positions.  Friends and family will tell you how I would worry so much about what my next step should be. Should I move to another state to be closer to my grandchildren, should I keep working, were just a few of the questions that I lost so much sleep over. Let's face it , I was out of my comfort zone and to me these were major changes in my life. There was so much I felt that I had lost in a short amount of time. Thank God I was not naive about how to run a home financially or how to take care of a car, I always involved myself in those things and was encouraged by my husband to do so. For one thing during his illness, knowing those things really came in helpful. So I was not "lost" as some women are, when they become widows, but I was definitely thrown out of my comfort zone of what I knew to be life in general.  But God and His Grace...

There were many times I felt like giving up and throwing in the towel, but the Holy Spirit would not let me. Every time that I would feel sorry for myself, He would remind me of all I had to be grateful for. I remember the time when I had worried myself almost sick about whether I should move to be closer to my grandchildren. Well meaning people would tell me that I was crazy not to pull up stakes and move, but there was always something keeping me from doing that. I mean it made sense, I had no one in this area to stay for, nothing to hold me back, and yet...there was always this feeling that I should wait...

 I would cry and cry over it until one day while in prayer, I said to the Lord, "Should I move, please show me, I want to live closer to my grandchildren, because I want them to know me."  and the Holy Spirit answered, "Pray that your grandchildren know ME."  In an instance I knew what He meant, you see I can never always be where my grandchildren are, I can never always be there for them when they have trials or sorrow, I can never always be there to comfort them when they need it, I can never always be there for them when they need guidance and assurance in life. But if they get to know HIM, He will NEVER leave them nor forsake them.  So I finally GOT it!  Yes it would be lovely to live close to them, but it is so much more important that they come to know the ONE that will ALWAYS be close to them, our Lord Jesus Christ.

As I learn to release my desires to Him and how to not let the things that I want in life to be the object of my faith, I have experienced more peace, more contentment. When I allow the things that I want in life to become the objects of my faith, then I am sidetracked and my eyes drift away from Who is most important.  The only object of my faith should be to obey Him and to live to see what He actually has for me in this life, which I believe is far, far better than anything I could ever dream of. He knows my desires and He knows me better than I know myself, so why not relax and enjoy the ride. Let Him take the wheel, for real. Doesn't mean we become lazy and have to be pushed to do everything; but living life each day as best you can to be pleasing to Him, doing what Jesus did. Listening to His leading each day, sometimes it may be to do big things, but more often it is to be attentive to the still small voice that leads you do what may seem mundane to others, but could very well positively effect a life or a generation. 

I no longer worry or get anxious about the next step, when to move or not, I know that when and if that time comes I will know. Just as He spoke to my heart many years ago when I was anxious about a job change. I wanted to work in a different field from the bank and was quite annoyed and had lost all joy about going to work. I had tried and tried to get work in a school but at the time to no avail. One morning while on my way to work, as I was complaining, He spoke to my heart that I should work at my current job just as if I would be there indefinitely; create a working environment that I wanted, right where I was at; but prepare myself to move at anytime He opened the door.  What? Lord you mean you want me to make this current job, that I hate, become a place that I would like to work forever?"  "Yes".  And so I did, it took a while but I began to come to work with a different attitude, I was more cheerful, brought in snacks for the break room, took more interest in the lives of my co workers, became more helpful to the customers and visiting officials.  Pretty soon I forgot all about getting a new job and was no longer just tolerating it but actually enjoying it. The negative things did not matter anymore.

 After a time I received a phone call and you guessed was the job that I had really wanted some time before. My boss came to me and shared that they had already called her prior and asked for a character reference. You see since I had made those changes in my attitude, she gave them an excellent reference and even told them that she would hate to lose me as an employee. So in due time God opened a door, but because I allowed Him to change me, I not only was able to have a new opportunity, but I left behind a very good witness for Him.

Waiting is not easy, believe me I know, but it is so worth it. As I looked out at the morning sky, I felt content.  Is everything the way I want it to be now? No.  Will it ever be? I don't know.  But for now, and with each day that the Lord gives me breath to awake, I am grateful, I am confident, that...

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
25 To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
Amen.  Jude 24-25

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A child of God

"Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:2-4

Ever watch a little child's face when they eat their first ice cream, see a puppy or a  "Choo-choo" train? Their eyes are filled with such awe and wonder. Things that have become common place to us, are things they marvel over and have such delight!

There is something so pure about a baby, everything fascinates them as they discover shapes and colors and movements. They are so trusting, vulnerable but loaded with potential! 

Back in the spring when the weather was cooler, I sat on my back porch quietly, talking with God. I have mentioned before how I am my worst critic (I am getting better though) and sometimes wonder if maybe God sneezed when He gave me my personality and sense of humor and it got off kilter. lol  So I asked Him "God I know that you have given us laughter, so what does it sound like when YOU laugh?"  Silence...then out front some children were playing and one of them laughed...and God spoke to my heart and said "That is what it sounds like when I laugh."  I began to think of how a child's laughter is pure, there is no guile in it, no grossness, no ill will, just pure joy! Pure fun! And it's okay to laugh, the Bible even says a merry heart is good like medicine! (Proverbs 17:22) So does God laugh? Sure He does, you don't think we have the brains to invent something like that do you! C'mon!

I believe that is why when we surrender our lives to Him, we become the children of God. Certainly He does not expect us to stay in our immaturity , but even as we grow in stature, knowledge and wisdom, we must still live to keep our hearts in the pureness of a child, to constantly be in the amazement of our Father God. To live in trust and expectancy rather than doubt and fear. There is nothing more sadder than to see a child that has been abused in some way and has lost their precious childhood years. They seemed prematurely aged and the light has gone from their eyes, there is no longer any amazement with life. But there is always restoration in Jesus, when we offer our imperfect pasts to Him, we can become the children of God, with His help we will once again desire that pureness of heart, we will begin to be amazed at His goodness, kindness and faithfulness.

Just this past week as some people and I stood and encircled to congratulate a man that had received a promotion, I felt a tug at my side and when I looked down, it was his small daughter squeezing in trying to get to her father. As I moved to the side to let her in, I have to be honest, my southern 1960's upbringing kicked in and I thought to myself "Where's the manners here baby!" ( Did I say I was a work in progress? lol). This child pressed through to get to her father, then she crawled into his lap and he didn't skip a beat as he gathered her in his arms and continued talking as if it was the most natural thing in the world. The Lord brought this scene back to my remembrance this morning with a side note of "That's the way we all should be." We should be so confident and sure of our Father's love, that we should do as Hebrews 4:16 says  "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

 I believe that it gives the Father much joy when we confidently come to Him, assured of His love. John 6:37 says (Jesus speaking),  "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out."  When we come to Him, as a little child trusting in His love and faithfulness,we can have the assurance that He will never cast us away!

The story of the woman with the issue of blood that sought healing, that is written in account in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, when shared, is usually about her faith, because Jesus did tell her "Your faith has made you whole". I believe her faith in Him as a healer made her whole, but is was her faith in Him as a Father of love and acceptance, her childlike faith, that made her even attempt to reach out and touch Him. She believed that He loved her so much that He would never cast her away without helping her, that Jesus was God's pure love.

So today, my prayer is that I will have that heart of a child before God. That I will always be amazed by His goodness, His Mercy, His acceptance, His everlasting unconditional love! May I marvel that He is always available to receive me, that I can go to Him with anything and He won't be offended or disappointed in me, but will rise to help me to become all that He wants me to be!
 The chorus of one of my favorite songs : "He's a good, good Father, that's who You are, that's who You are, that's who You are; and I'm loved by You that's who I am, that's who I am, that's who I am!"

Friday, June 24, 2016

He cares...

"O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up." Psalms 139:1

"Not AGAIN!" I said to myself as I frantically looked for my silver bracelet! My dogs looked at me from a safe distance, because they knew by the volume and tone of my voice, it was not the time for play. I knew for sure I had placed the bracelet in the same spot after taking it off a couple of weeks ago, but where was it?  You see this has happened before, matter of fact for a while seems like I was on a roll for losing things, but was having a reprieve, or so I thought!  

I looked everywhere all day long while doing deep breathing exercises to stay calm. I guess I was frustrated because I could not understand  why that stupid bracelet was not where it should have been. Plus... this commercial about memory loss and what that could mean kept coming on TV. I mean come on now, I only watch special programs on TV and the commercial was showing up on every channel I turned to! I was beginning to think I could hear the music theme from "The Twilight Zone" softly playing, while my dogs looked strangely at me! What in the world?????? Was I losing it? I mean my mind this time! I could have sworn that I put it right where it always goes!  

Finally, I got tired of looking and began to settle in my heart that it was just a bracelet and where ever it the county dump covered in the township's stinking garbage; on the the arm of a stranger or out on the street flat as a silver pancake after being ran over by a UPS truck (I saw all this in my mind in 3-D), it did not matter, there are other things more important and my life certainly did not depend upon it. So right eye STOP TICKING ! 

I prayed about it and began to prepare for bed, then a thought came to mind...a few days ago, I had found a couple of small sequined evening bags in a closet (Don't know why I am keeping them, have not used them in a thousand years!)  Anyway I temporarily laid them on top of the case where I kept the bracelet, afterwards storing them in a drawer. Suddenly I felt impressed to go to that drawer and look at those bags. I felt kind of silly doing that, especially after taking them out of the drawer and not seeing anything, but...wait a minute...just as I was putting them back I looked down in the drawer and there was the bracelet ! I probably would have not looked in that drawer again for a long time, if I had not been given that little "nudge". How often would I have needed to use a sequined evening bag...NEVER ! LOL

I picked up the bracelet and rejoiced! But it was not so much about the fact that I had found it, but that once again it was a reminder that God cares! Seriously I was laughing, crying and praising God at the same time, I deserved the strange looks from my dogs this time!  I was suddenly overwhelmed with the sense of how much He Loves and cares for us!  You may ask how can you get that out of finding a bracelet?  Because I know from experience, He knows all about me and He is concerned about every little detail of my life. Every hurt, every rejection, every misunderstanding, every failure, and also every joy.  He cares and feels what I feel, and He has been there all my life and before. To me it was like He was saying to me "Though you may feel lost and hidden sometimes, I KNOW where you are at all times, nothing and no one is hidden from Me." Isn't that a comforting thought...

I want to encourage you today, no matter what you may be going through, God knows all about it, there is nothing that is hidden from Him. He has not lost you and is frantically searching for you, He KNOWS just where you are and is patiently waiting for you to surrender those things that concern you and yes, even your whole self to Him. By surrendering does not mean you will lose anything, but you will gain everything that really matters.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

He Lifts up my head!

Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. 
Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” Selah
But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the Lord with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah  Psalms 3:1-4

The beginning of this week (May 16th)  has brought the sad news of another young woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend to many, has taken her own life. My post on March 12th included the sad news about another precious, young woman, mother and friend to many, that took her own life also. That is two women, one I had met once and heard her speak so beautifully at a breakfast/meeting and the other I only know through her sibling to whom I am well acquainted and admire very much. I can only imagine what the families must be going through.  My heart is heavy for the children, the spouses, the parents, the siblings and all who were close to them. 

Two people who had lost hope and believed that this world would be a better place without them and yet...there are so many that feel this way, these are just the ones that I know about.  I weep for them because as I have shared before, I know what it feels like to have no hope, to feel that you do not matter, to be so depressed that you believe the lies that are bombarding your mind and emotions.

King David of the Bible felt that way many times. He wrote in Psalms 3 just how he felt; his enemies were trying to overtake him, people had lost all faith in him and believed that he would fail. Have you ever felt that way? I have. Downtrodden, defeated, rejected, worthless, just a few words to describe the emotions that are trying to convince you to give up.

I certainly don't have all the answers, but I do know what helped me from making a final decision to take my own life, and that is what David did...he reminded himself that God was his shield, his protector. You see no matter how low we feel, God is still there. No matter how lonely we may feel, He has not left us. No matter how worthless we may feel, He still loves us. We have that choice...believe the lies or with our last ounce of strength, with our last bit of faith (that everyone has been given) accept the Truth that we CAN live and things will get better.

The late Dr. Myles Munroe said "The graveyard is the richest place on the surface of the earth because there you will see the books that were not published, ideas that were not harnessed, songs that were not sung, and drama pieces that were never acted."  To take it on a more basic level, what about the love and nurture that the children that are left behind will miss, the smiles and hugs of encouragement that they will go without from you. The opportunities missed to help make this world a better place for not only your children, but your family and friends that love you. We are all important and have a place and purpose in this world and when we decide to leave before our time, we are greatly missed...believe that.

King David also reminds himself the it is God who lifts up his head. Depression and feelings of worthlessness will make you lower your head, if not physically, inwardly the weight of the negative emotions cause you to lower your confidence, faith and your will to go on. Please listen, God is the only one that can lift your head and give you all you need to get through and overcome the desire to take matters in your own hands.  Look up because when you look up you can see that there is a new day tomorrow, there is hope and a promise that He is with you and will never leave you.  Trust Him today, give Him a chance...give Him your problems, give Him your heart...

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Something to brighten my day!

Just a short post to say that I received a nice surprise today...FLOWERS ! My son, his wife and the grandkids sent me a lovely arrangement and it was just what I needed to brighten my day!  I thank God for simple pleasures!

Love this lovely bouquet!

My "Boys" approve !

My new pillow for the sofa! "Enjoy Today!"

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Being Still...

“...Be still, and know that I am God;  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalms 46:10

I have a fault...and that is overly concerning myself over the lives of others. Surely the Lord wants us to be involved with mankind and to "cry when they cry and rejoice with them as they rejoice".  But sometimes I really take it to the extreme and that is not good.  It is at times like these that I know I need to "Be still...", take time and meditate on what the Lord would have me do instead of running ahead and getting involved. I am a lot better than I used to be, but every now and then the tendency to be a "fixer" raises its head and tries to take over. I am learning that the Lord wants me to allow Him to handle situations in other people's lives; that even though I care very much and my concern is genuine, it is not for me to try and fix it.  Be still.

So. I am resting in Him and enjoying the many simple pleasures that He has blessed me with. I will not seclude myself, for I know that God did not intend for us to live alone and become recluse from the people around us...He desires for us to have fellowship. However for me being still means taking time to be more conscious of what my role in this journey is. To be salt and light to the world, not a fixer; to be quietly praying for the things that concern me and to allow people to be who they are.

Thank You Lord for showing me that I need to take the time to Be Still and hear Your voice again. To KNOW that You are God and that I can release all concern for others into Your confident Hands. Amen.

Here are some things that I enjoy, among them collecting blue and white ceramics and pottery...being still and learning to enjoy the journey...

Blue, white, yellow my favorite color combo for spring

Antique coffee pot, rose tea cups and Boyd Bears "Tea time"

Some of my collection of vintage pottery

Mini rose bushes on the back porch on a rainy day

More Blue, white and yellow

This "Willow" pattern plate is very olden made in England

Spring arrangement

Blue and White in the foyer

A Tea Set gifted to me by a friend

A Pot of Violas on the back porch

 Just a few of my favorite things... :-)

Friday, April 22, 2016

He watches over me...and you

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
    from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth. 
He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time on and forevermore. Psalms 121

It has been a while since I have posted anything. I am doing fine and have been learning many "lessons", but did not feel to share...not until this one. Protection, security, assurance, all very comforting words when it pertains to your well being, especially in this day and age. Those words are very important and special to me, and concerns me more times than others. I had never lived on my own until 14 years ago when my husband passed; it was something that I had never planned to do and certainly something that I never wanted to happen...but it did. But this is not a *sob* story, but one of victory, so don't turn me off yet.    :-)

I grew up in a loving family and home, a father, a mother and siblings. I left home to attend college, but had 2 loving roommates (girls, dorms were not co-ed back then thank God!) and then I married and lived in  a wonderful home with my husband and son. I had ALWAYS had someone there for me. I remember thinking back then "if something would ever happen to my husband, I don't know what I would do!"  Then there was the time after he had passed and I said to myself "I hope that I never lose electricity at night in a winter storm!"  Well you guessed it!  It happened! Raging storm, all the electricity went out, dark of night and after I panicked what did I do? I quickly figured out that I had 2 choices; frantically run out into the storm or trust that God was with me and would be my protector...I did the latter and got in bed and went to sleep...

That experience was among many, but I believe that it was a pivotal time for me...I began to learn how my Father God is my protector.  I am sure that many of you can account for times when things that should have happened, somehow didn't and the only way to explain it is that someone bigger than you or I was watching over us. Some people believe that it is their deceased loved ones. I do not see the truth of that in God's Word, however I do see that He, God Himself is our protector and watches over us and He dispatches angels to our aid. (Psalms 91:11)  So how do we explain when adverse things DO actually a nut shell, I don't know, but what I DO know is that God loves us and I praise Him for the times that He has shown me how He has protected me from danger and harm. He loves us and as I have said before, some things we may never understand here on earth, but God is the same yesterday, today and forever and never leaves us.

I posted something on Facebook the other day that I borrowed from someone else about the "Pity Train", it was so funny because I could so relate. In fact I was riding that particular train...more specifically the SELF PITY train just the other day when I began to "see" the light.    :-)

I began to be concerned about getting older and who would care for me in my old age. Where would I live? Who could I call if I needed someone? (those commercials about "I've fallen and can't get up" doesn't help the matter either!) You know, all the questions that make you want to throw in the towel and turn into a blubbering wreck!  Legitimate concerns, but I knew that this was not coming from God because it did not encourage me, only discourage me...sure sign! 

Once I shook myself and realized who the instigator was of those feelings...I felt impressed to read the above Psalms 121 and it was a reminder of WHO is looking out for me; and  there it was right there...God Himself is looking out for me! And honey He doesn't even sleep nor slumber!  So it's 24/7 protection, better than ADT, Guardian or any other alarm system (of which I have one)!  Should I use wisdom? Of course, but ultimately I have to believe and trust that God is in control and is leading and watching over me. Takes a whole lot of pressure off.

No matter how old that I get, I am still learning about this walk of life, and most importantly about my Father God...and I like it that way. I pray that I never become one of those people that think they know it all and if you ever see me being that way, you have my permission to kick me in the tush...gently please. :-)

After my private lesson with the Lord on "Who Is My Protector", I believe that I am finally getting it. God uses people to give us confidence and security...He used my loving parents; my father that was a strong, affectionate provider, my mother who was loving and nurturing; my college roommates that showed me true friendship and camaraderie and then my precious husband that lovingly gave me not only physical protection but also was my godly marital covering. So you see when I needed all those things, God in His faithfulness had them in place. And you know what? He has not skipped a beat, He is graciously allowing me to see that ultimately HE is my all in all,  HE is Whom and all we need. He IS watching over us...

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked. 
Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.  PSALMS 91:1-11