Thursday, November 11, 2021

Wherever We Go

 


Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. ~Joshua 1:9

It's been a long time coming, but my husband, Danny, and I are about to embark on our longest road trip ever in all the years we've been married.  The purpose?  To spend Thanksgiving with daughter, Sarah, son-in-law, John, and the three grand grands!


Ever since Danny's last heart procedure, we have disavowed expressways altogether.  We'd rather ride the calmer roads less taken, discovering new sights and adventures along the way.  That's why we are leaving so early, this Monday to be exact, and will make the most of our leisurely journey to Raleigh, North Carolina.

Our first stop?  The Ridges Resort in Young Harris, Georgia.



Isn't it a lovely place?  We will arrive there by mid-afternoon on Monday, so should be able to roam the extensive grounds and enjoy our one night stay.

On Tuesday, we'll head up to a cozy cabin in NC called End of the Road.



We will spend several days there before resuming our trip northward.  We plan to visit a local waterfall and, perhaps, a winery in the immediate area.

Friday, it's on to Raleigh!  Look at this amazing Air BnB Danny's booked.



This space will allow us to entertain the family there, if we choose, and Virginia, our oldest granddaughter, will be able to spend all the nights she wants with us as the house has a second bedroom.

All that being said, this blog will be my last until the first week in December, as we plan to once more take our time going home when Thanksgiving is over.  I hope you all will forgive me in advance if I don't indulge in reading/commenting on your blogs while I am out of town.  I promise, I'll take plenty of photos, and will have lots of stories to share with you upon my return.

We are praying for safe travels, knowing our God is with us wherever we go.  I humbly as for your prayers, too.

Wishing you and yours a most Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

Amen!

Monday, November 8, 2021

Coloring Life With Joy

 


People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them.  When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them.  But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." ~Luke 18:15-17

My daughter, Sarah, sends me this photo of our youngest granddaughter, Alexandra, with the explanation:  "Alexandra is lining up the leaves she collected on her way back from the bus stop."

I love this colorful arrangement she has made, seemingly on the spur of the moment, and then I stop and think.  When Alexandra is only four, the family moves to Conway, South Carolina.  There aren't many deciduous trees in that locale, so she would not have seen the brilliant colors that autumn has to offer in so many places in our country.  And she is too young to have vivid memories of living in North Georgia.

Now, in Raleigh, North Carolina, this is a brand-new encounter and delight to Alexandra's palate of life's experiences.  She is seeing the splendor of these leaves rich colors for the first time.  Her reaction?  She needs to pay homage.

Such beauty and elegance can't casually be passed by, but must be cherished and honored in a formal recognition deserving of every fallen leaf.  And I'm reminded of how we, as adults, place flowers, or other meaningful memorials, on the graves of our loved ones.

Alexandra, whether she is aware of it or not, is honoring God and His creation.  She has taken note of the loveliness all around her, and has tried her best to imitate that in order to align with her six-year-old perceptions.  Innocent and free, she has no notions of grandeur, only pleasure in the act itself.

May we all come to the Father as little children, expectant, loving and giving, secure in the knowledge that He will color our lives with joy.

Amen!

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Blessed Beyond Measure

 


Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. ~James 5:16

I have my long-planned gum surgery this past Monday.  It is not the procedure that concerns me, but the fear that I will be plagued by pain for days after.  That's precisely why I ask you at the time, my friends, for prayers and for understanding why I opt to take a brief blogging break.

Before the appointment, I follow the dental surgeon's instructions:  Start your antibiotics the day before; eat a hearty meal as close to the time of surgery as possible, and take the prescribed pain reliever.  Check, check, check!  My husband, Danny, drives me to the office and drops me off as the surgery is estimated to last about two hours.  I'm a bit nervous, but once the nitrous oxide does its thing, I can begin to relax.

Believe it or not, the time flies by as the periodontist and her assistant get right to work.  Of course, I feel nothing because of the Novocain, but I still can't stop thinking about how my jaw will feel once that dosage wears off.

I'm anticipating the worst . . . 

But the worst never materializes.

Instead of searing pain, there is only a residual soreness, not enough to warrant any further medication to alleviate it.  I'm over-the-moon ecstatic!

And I can't stop thanking and praising God.  He has answered my prayers and the prayers of so many of you out there in Blogland.  After all the dire warnings regarding this surgery's aftermath, this is, indeed, a miracle.

Are there any other issues that could bug me for the 10 days until my routine follow-up?  Sure!  No hot beverages (thank you, Lord, for iced coffee!), only soft foods (think cottage cheese and smoothies), and no chewing or brushing on the stitched side of my mouth.  But these are minor inconveniences that pale in light of the fear of pain I dread for so many weeks.

That is one thorn God has most graciously removed.

And I am blessed beyond measure.

Amen!

Thursday, October 28, 2021

A Rich Harvest

 


The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us. ~Psalm 67:6

The city of Kennesaw, Georgia, has grown exponentially in the last 20 years, largely due to the expanding Kennesaw State University located in our backyard.  Even with all this increase in housing, traffic and population, Kennesaw proper hasn't lost its hometown feel.  We are even crowned with the coveted title of the 10th safest city in the entire state!  (Thank you, Kennesaw PD!)

With all the stories of division in communities propagated by the mainstream media these days.  Kennesaw proudly goes against the grain of that narrative.  Nothing speaks louder to that than this fall display of scarecrows in the downtown area.  These creations are concocted by a variety of churches, businesses and civic groups in our area.  Each has its own unique message or theme.  Best of all, agree or disagree, every display is respected, and might I say, enjoyed. 

So, come with me as I take a walking tour of downtown, and meet the diverse, and sometimes humorous, scarecrows of Kennesaw!


A Mom's Support Group created these scarecrows above, and I bridal shop, the one below.


From the library.


Yes, we have a brewery and distillery in town.



A cheer and tumble place.


Our church's preschool (Kennesaw UMC)


First Baptist Church


Happy there's no ban on Dr. Seuss here!


I never even knew our city has an organization designed to rescue rabbits.


There are more photos I could share, but will close with my favorite:  A salute to active military and veterans.



What a fun way to celebrate the splendor of the fall and the realization of a rich harvest!  God, our God, has certainly blessed our city and community in so many ways.

I pray that He will bless yours, too.

Amen!

Friends, I could really use some prayers.  I'm having some surgery on my gums this coming Monday, and the aftermath, for at least the first several days, will not be pleasant.  In light of this, I won't be posting a blog on Tuesday, as usual, and I might not be up to getting around to your blogs, either.  I know you all will understand.  Thanks in advance for the prayers!  Love and blessings!

Monday, October 25, 2021

Patient Expectation

 


"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Although I haven't explored my word for the year, hope, often in my blogs, I am blindsided by the realization of how much this word has played a part in 2021.  What brings it home is an acronym offered by Greg Laurie of Harvest Ministries, whose daily devotions I subscribe to.  Here is what Greg says:

If you're losing hope today, don't give up.  I don't know what kind of situation you're in right now, but you're going to get through it.  Remember this acronym for hope:  holding on with patient expectation.

Wow!  Just wow!

The key word here for me is patient.  Honestly, I don't like waiting for answers, waiting in line, or anything else that tries my patience.  

Yet, in this year of HOPE, my patience for patience has increased ten-fold.  It's had to, considering all the circumstances by which I've been tasked and tested.  Here are some examples:

  • Waiting for the Covid vaccine
  • Waiting to see daughter, Sarah, son-in-law, John, and the grands over spring break
  • Waiting through the long summer weeks of Mom's illness, hoping beyond hope that we can bring her back to her own home in time.  Now, thankfully, she is in her forever home with God.
  • Waiting for Danny's heart to be healed and whole once again, which it is, praise the Lord!
  • Waiting right now for our Thanksgiving journey to spend time once again with Sarah, John and the girls, praying for safe travels and a wonderful, memorable visit.
In all of these scenarios, hope is my constant companion.  And I'm sure it's yours, too, in whatever you have faced or are facing right now.  Not to dismiss Paul's contention that love is the greatest component of the trio:  faith, hope, love.  But I simply can't see a life worth living unless hope is a strong and sturdy part of that three-legged stool.

God knows our need for all three, and He is the source from whom these blessings flow.  He has promised to give us a hope and future, and we know our Lord always keeps His promises.

So, as this year winds down, friends, let us continue to love one another, persevere in our faith, and hope with patient expectation that God's will is done and His kingdom may come.

Amen!

Thursday, October 21, 2021

You've Got Mail!

 


Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, by the will of God, to God's holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:  Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. ~Ephesians 1:1-2

On our most recent trip to Mom's, I set about the task of going through seemingly endless piles of large envelopes filled with cards, letters and miscellaneous items my parents kept throughout the years.  It is, in a word, overwhelming.  I never realized what pack rats my folks were because their home is so large, and it is convenient to squirrel away untold trash and treasure where it isn't readily visible.

It is easy to toss Christmas cards, birthday cards and calendars dating back to the 90s without even looking closely inside the packets, but many others are problematic.  Each of these envelopes demands the emptying of its contents in order to decide what's worth keeping and what should be cast aside.

There are plenty of sentimental items that I don't really want to keep, but don't feel I have the authority to throw away without my brother, Bill, getting a go-through first, so I leave quite a few piles on Mom's dining room table for him to peruse on his next visit.  What I do bring home with me to sort and save are the hundreds of letters exchanged over the years between my grandparents, Mom and Dad, a dear relatives now departed.  These are treasures, indeed, and it makes me grateful that my parents did make the effort to save these.  I'm hoping, by the time I'm through reading and cataloguing all of these, that a bigger picture can be drawn of my family tree.


These are the contents of just ONE envelope!  Does anyone remember those thin, flimsy air mail missives?  I'm sure glad the envelopes were saved with the content as I'm counting on the postmarks to allow me to date the letters more accurately.  I even find, at least in this pile, a letter I write to my Dad when he was away in Iowa for a summer of study on corn plants!


Oh, how precious these items are to me!  But just imagine how powerfully impressive and precious Paul's letters were to the early Christian communities, eager to hear his inspirational messages and exhortations.  There was no reading/hearing them once, then tossing them away like yesterday's news.  These were pearls of infinite value to the often persecuted and struggling followers of Christ Jesus.

Without these early Christian converts, saving and savoring Paul's letters and, undoubtedly, copying them over and over and over for the sake of preservation, what would our beloved New Testament look like?  I dare say we would be made all the poorer in our faith had these not been included.

So, I will save these letters, rewriting some if I have to, and pass them down to future generations.  Perhaps, they will become just as meaningful to them as they are to me.

Amen!

Monday, October 18, 2021

All Things Are Possible

 


Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." ~Matthew 19:26

This photo is taken at my mother's house as I am on my way to put a load of clothes into the washing machine.  Yes, I'm used to seeing these docile and loveable lizards on the screened-in porch, but certainly not in the confines of the home.  I simply had to snap a picture of this wanton creature who wandered way beyond his comfort zone into uncharted territory.

And I couldn't help but think that this lizard's inopportune venture would eventually lead to his freedom, if he has the will to seek it.


I find myself caught in a bind

Where is the world I left behind?

All that matters now is lost

How will I accept the cost?

Seek the crevice, seek the crack

In the mortar, where the lack

Of vigilance begs a breach

The outside world within my reach


Friends, it is the same lesson we can all learn from the Lord.  What seems improbable and impossible for us, God can accomplish in a heartbeat.  All we need is faith.

Amen!


 

Wherever We Go

  Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wher...