Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Three Sisters


Psalm 133:1
How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity.

It's no secret to any of you who regularly follow Meditations of My Heart that I'm one proud Gammie of three beautiful girls:  Virginia Rose; Savannah Jane, and Alexandra Nancy.  But what pleases me as much, if not more than being their grandmother is how swimmingly the three sisters get along.

Being only fifteen months apart, Savannah and Alexandra are practically joined at the hip.  They play flawlessly together, keeping each other entertained and happy, sharing their toys, and allowing their mother, my daughter, Sarah, the opportunity to take care of daily chores.  They even share the same gifts at Christmas without a shred of jealousy!


As much as they love playing together, Savannah and Alexandra really look forward to that time each day when Virginia comes home from school.  They adore their big sister, and Virginia is so patient and loving with them.  Sarah tells me she is such a dependable and willing helper when it comes to looking after her siblings.









Such good and pleasant times!

At least for now.

Because I can already envision those emotionally tumultuous tween and teen years for Virginia, when those little sisters, now all sweetness and light, morph into pesky pests.  Sneaking into her room to read her diary.  Teasing her unmercifully about a boyfriend.  Pilfering her make up.  I wonder how patient Virginia will be with them then?

But those days are in the distant future.  So for now, I choose to enjoy each moment of their loving camaraderie and sisterly unity.

Such a joy!

Such a blessing!

Amen!

~

When you were a child, did you get along with your siblings?  How about your children or grandchildren?

Friday, January 27, 2017

"HUGE" Revisited


2 Corinthians 12:7-9
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away form me.  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

I write this post you are reading today on January 25th, one month since Christmas.  What strikes me hard is not how fast the days have flown by, but the variety of ailments I've endured during this time.

It starts on Christmas Eve day.  I wake with one ear stuffed up.  No amount of coaxing with wax softeners alleviates my condition.  Being partially deaf at Christmas makes it rough, let me tell you!

As soon as the holiday is over, I head out to our local Urgent Care with high hopes the doctor can clear up the ear.  But he can't!!!  This has never happened before!  He suggests I go home, now that my ear is washed out as well as it can be for now, and use a wax softener overnight to see if it works.

I follow the doctor's orders to the letter.  Next morning?  Clear as a bell!  What a blessed relief!

But not one meant to last . . .

Because within two days, here come the cold, and the cough, and the sneezing, and the ravaging of tissue boxes.  No fever, but I'm miserable, and definitely moving around in a slow-motion fog.

I try a generic allergy reliever, as that has helped my colds in the past, yet it's a weak substitute for the Day-Quil I finally end up taking.  But after three days, I quit, sniffles or no sniffles.  The drug is suppressing my appetite - not a good thing for a person who should be gaining weight, not losing it!

Back to the allergy pills I go.  I continue to suffer like this until the third week of January, when I take granddaughter, Virginia Rose, to my mother's for the weekend.  Thankfully, after these horrendous weeks, the cold has definitely subsided, and is manageable at long last.

Just when I feel I've turned the corner and outrun the creeping crud, I am inexplicably hit with a severe pain in my shoulders and upper back.  These not only make it almost impossible to stand straight, but alarmingly, affect each breath inhaled, infusing it with the harsh reminder of this burden.  Don't ask me how many aspirins I go through, because I don't recall.

What I do recall, though, is praying fervently to God.  Not that I hadn't prayed about the other illnesses I'd been saddled with, but this time, I ask specifically:  It it's Your will, Lord, please ease the pain in my back and chest.  I just don't know how much more of this I can take.

My prayer is answered!  Within twenty-four hours, the aches and tightness are gone!  For the first time in a month, I think, I can finally, finally get back to the gym.

And that's precisely what I do.  Only to wake up the next morning with my right hip joint so stiff and sore, I can hardly walk, let alone going up and down stairs.  Okay, Lord, is this some kind of joke?  You relieve me in one area of my body only to torment me in another?

Then Paul's words from 2 Corinthians hit me as brightly as a lone shaft of sunlight pierces an ominous bank of clouds.  "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

And I see in a flash that during these trying times, I have prayed more to God, talked more with Him, and relied upon His mercy and strength like never before.  God's intention was never to punish me, but to set me straight.

He knows my word for the year is "huge."  And while I morosely think that all these infirmities are a HUGE inconvenience, He sees it as a HUGE opportunity for me to draw closer to Him.

Thank you, Father!  It's worked in a HUGE way!

Amen!

~

Have you ever struggled with a thorn in your flesh?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Happy and Joyful!


Virginia "disguised" as her Gammie!

Psalm 68:3
But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.

My granddaughter, Virginia Rose, and I share happy and joyful times when we visit with my mother, her Nana, over the recent long weekend.  Aside from the always welcome play dates with Princess when she shows up,


we have fun engaging in simple, but entertaining, activities.

Virginia loves the outdoors, and we are blessed to have I-don't-need-my-coat-in-January weather.  Whether it's finding holly berries or pecans on the ground, it's not long before she is burying them in hopes they will grow in springtime.







Virginia discovers a Frisbee in the room we share, and we spend lots and lots of time throwing it around the spacious yard.





  I'm amazed at how good she's gotten at it, though she did lose it twice in the holly tree by the screened-in porch.  Luckily, I pop it free with a long stick.  You can watch Virginia in action here. 

Now that's what I call high energy!

We also enjoy some quieter moments.  Who doesn't like being pampered with chocolate ice cream?





Or playing a "Frozen" spelling game?





Or endless rounds of Uno?


I neglect to count how many games we played in the time we are there, but I do know Virginia won all but seven.  Her strategies are top notch!

While taking another stroll around the yard, we spy a gorgeous pink camellia blooming behind my mother's garage.





What a delight it is to see such cheerful flowers in winter!  Of course, Virginia has to pluck one to bring to her Nana.


And she insists on drawing the precious bloom.


By day's end, Virginia is so tired, she falls asleep before I can finish reading her a bedtime story.  I kiss her forehead, bid her sweet dreams, praying they will be as happy and joyful as this day has been.

Amen!

Friday, January 20, 2017

All God's Children


Romans 14:10-12
You, then why do you judge your brother or sister?  Or why do you treat them with contempt?  For we will all stand before God's judgment seat.  It is written:  "As surely as I live," says the Lord, "every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God."  So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

Granddaughter, Virginia Rose, my mother and I are gathered at the small dining table enjoying a simple lunch of tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, in my opinion, the ultimate in comfort food.  Out of the blue, Virginia pipes up with this observation.  Pointing first to me and then to her great grandmother, she says, "You're my Gammie and you're my Nana, but you're also my sisters."

Mom and I exchange quizzical looks.  "Virginia," I say, not understanding where she is coming from (yes, I can be quite obtuse at times), "Savannah and Alexandra are your sisters, not Nana and Gammie."

Virginia cocks her head to one side, and asks, "Aren't we all God's children?"

"Why, yes, honey, we sure are," I readily confirm.

"Then you're my sisters," she declares.  "We're all sisters and brothers; everyone in the whole world!"

Wow!  You could have knocked me over with the proverbial feather!  I know that I've told Virginia many times before that God is our Heavenly Father and we are His children, but after checking with daughter, Sarah, to see is she has told Virginia about the brother/sister connection, I discover it's a conclusion this sage six-year-old has come to all on her own.

That's HUGE!  (My word for the year)

~

Today marks the inception of a new era in American history as President Trump officially takes the oath of office.  For some of you, this is a day of joy and hope; for others, it may feel like the beginning of the end.

The past election cycle will be remembered, I fear, as one of the most divisive and mean-spirited in recent history.  Tragically, this propelled many Christians into judging their brothers and sisters, and treating them with contempt for their political stance.  And in many instances, the bridges of love and friendship, once so steadfast, burned to the ground.

My hope and prayer as our nation moves forward is this:  May we look past our difference long enough to see the commonality we share.

We are all brothers and sisters in Christ, called to love others in His name.

We are all God's children.

And it's about time we act like it.

After all, if a six-year-old can figure it out, why can't we?

Amen!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Prodigal Princess

Virginia Rose ready for her road trip!

Psalm 21:2
You have granted him his heart's desire and have not withheld the request of his lips.

Our granddaughter, Virginia Rose, is so excited about spending the three-day weekend in Oxford with my mother, her Nana, and me.  It's a long, sometimes tedious, road trip, but we make frequent pit stops, and take our time over lunch at McDonald's, to give us a break.





But as much as she is looking forward to spending time with her Gammie and Nana, Virginia is anxiously hoping that the cat she dubbed Princess will make an encore appearance.  She mentions repeatedly, while we travel, that her heart is set on seeing "her" cat again; and she wants my reassurance.

"Gammie, do you think Princess will know I'm back in Oxford?  Do you think she will visit us like she did last time?"

"I certainly hope so," I tell her, "but I can't promise anything."  Silently, however, I say a prayer about the situation, knowing this is her heart's desire, and I surely don't want her tender heart broken.

We arrive at long last, relieved to be stretching our legs and to hug Nana.  As I unload the car, Virginia is already looking all around for any sign of her beloved Princess.  But the cat is nowhere to be found.  After waiting over an hour or so for the expected visit, Virginia becomes despondent, a rare mood, indeed, for this child who almost always radiates joy.


"I have an idea, Virginia," I say, wanting desperately to cheer her up.  "Let's take a walk down the street and see if we can find Princess.  We never did figure out where she lives, but it has to be close by."

"Let's go, Gammie!" Virginia shouts, all smiles again.

We stroll leisurely up the road, peering into driveways and yards as we walk, hoping for a glimpse of Princess.  That is when we meet up with not one, but two, other cats, one of which seems taken with Virginia.









Virginia enjoys hanging out with the cats for a while, but is soon eager to resume our search for Princess.  After we have walked for another twenty minutes, I tell Virginia it's time to go back to Nana's house.  "Who knows?"  I say.  "Maybe Princess has already turned up there looking for you."

That theory seems to satisfy Virginia for the time being.  Back we head to the house, not really looking for Princess any more.  The moment we set foot on the stone patio in front of the house, we hear a timid meow behind us.  We whirl around.

"Princess!!!"  Virginia exclaims gleefully.

Sure enough.  It's the prodigal returned home.  And oh, what a welcome she gets!











The Lord has granted my granddaughter's heart's desire, and I offer a prayer of thanks.

Amen!

~

Do you have a special memory of a time when God granted your heart's desire?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Happy at Home


Genesis 25:27
The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents.

I'm a home body.  Nothing makes me happier than having an entire day spread before me, Knowing I don't need to leave my comfortable surroundings.  And during the recent snow storm, when we are confined to the house for three days, I'm not surprised to find I'm the only one who doesn't catch the cabin fever bug.

Yes, like Jacob, at home is where I am most content.

And never bored.

There are books and blogs to read (or write), routine chores to execute, and reflective times, sitting on our deck, watching the birds and squirrels at the feeders.  There is ample opportunity for leisurely Bible study, meditation and prayer.

No deadlines.  No have-tos.  No hustle and bustle demands from the outside world.

Quiet.

Peaceful.

Still.

Sometimes I think to myself, Martha, you should get out more.  Maybe do some volunteer work at a food pantry, an animal shelter, Virginia Rose's school.

But I hesitate to commit to anything other than willingly babysitting my grands whenever my daughter needs me, which is oftentimes at the drop of a hat.

I cherish my freedom to choose how I spend my days.  Perhaps that's selfish of me, but the older I get, the more I realize that God means for me to embrace my being, not my doing.

I read many Christian blogs extolling the virtue of being still with God, and advising others to reject getting perpetually caught up in a whirlwind of busyness.  For some of us, depending upon where we are in our life's journey, that is easier said than done.

I am simply grateful to God for allowing me to find my happy place.

My secure place.

At home.

With Him.

~

Do you make time each day to spend quiet moments with God?

As happy as I am at home, I will be leaving Saturday morning with granddaughter, Virginia, on a road trip to visit my mother over the long weekend.  Her computer is not the most reliable, so I might not be able to get to your comments here until I return on Monday.  Please leave your thoughts, though, as I love you input here at Meditations of My Heart, and will respond to you as quickly as I can.

Blessings!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

There's No Business Like Snow Business


Psalm 147:16
He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes.

All last week, we stay tuned in to any change in the news of the winter storm slated to hit the Southeast by Friday night.  The computer models, it appears, swing wildly from one end of the spectrum to the other, leaving meteorologists grasping at straws and changing their predictions as to when the storm will hit, and more critically, how much "white stuff" we'll see or not see when all is said and done.

Nonetheless, we, like all seasoned Southerners facing potentially icy weather, make sure our fridge and pantry are well stocked just in case we are snowed in for any length of time.


The post storm temperatures, predicted to drop into the teens, will freeze any moisture that has accumulated, making our steep driveway impassable.  And who wants to walk to the grocery store in below freezing temps?  Really!

Friday evening arrives at last, and my husband, Danny, and I are expecting, according to the latest forecast, anywhere between two to four inches of snow in our neck of the woods.  Imagine our dismay when the precipitation begins as sleet!  Nothing worse in the South, with all our towering pines with their pliant, vulnerable branches, than an ice storm.  

We are relieved when at last the snow appears.


But we know there is already a sheet of slick and treacherous ice lurking beneath it.

Again, it sleets.  Again, it snows.  And this is the scenery that greets us the next day.










Yes,that's the ice-coated Driveway of Doom!

As folks begin sharing their snow pictures on Facebook, we realize, with not little surprise, that some locations in Georgia got walloped with snow, much more than we got, and others, nary a flake!  Was this storm a hit or miss event, or what?

My daughter, Sarah, and son-in-law, John, live about sixteen miles northeast of us.  Their snowfall, as you can tell from the photos, is much deeper than ours, and provides some chilly entertainment for the grand-girls.


Alexandra with Daddy


Looking a bit confused by the snow and bitter cold


Savannah exploring her new surroundings



And Virginia hamming it up!


And as I ponder this grand diversity of winter precipitation, I think that with all our computer technology, even the experts cannot accurately predict the weather.  Let alone control it.

That's God's business.  He spreads the snow and scatters the frost, however and wherever He wills.

As humans, we can prepare all we want for a storm's outcome.

But what we should prepare ourselves for is to be surprised by God.

Amen!

~

Do you have a favorite snow memory?  Please share in the comments.

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