Monday, December 20, 2021

Merry Christmas!

 


So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. ~Luke 2:4-7


2021 has been a challenging year for us.  From Danny's pacemaker issues and subsequent heart ablation to Mom's illness in the spring and summer that eventually leads to her passing, we have been through the proverbial wringer.

As Christmas is right around the corner, with the New Year close on its heels, I've decided to take some time away from blogging to reflect upon all that's transpired, to open my heart and mind to the wonder of our Savior's birth, and to prayerfully contemplate my hopes and dreams for 2022.  Maybe, this season of rest and regrouping will also reveal to my my word for the year to come.

Thank you all who have loyally followed Meditations of My Heart throughout the year.  Each of you is dear to me, and your thoughtful comments always make my heart sing.

May you have a Merry and Blessed Christmas, and a safe, prosperous New Year filled with love, joy and peace!

Amen!

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Rock My World!

 


May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. ~Psalm 19:14


When granddaughter, Virginia, presents with her drawing that I feature in the previous post, she also gives us this bag of rocks.  ROCKS???  What, you might ask, do rocks have to do with missing your grandparents?

But I know their significance immediately.

When Virginia is younger, and frequently staying over at our house, she loves to collect rocks wherever we go.  She is especially intrigued by the stones her Papa (aka Danny) places in various spots in our yard to help control erosion and encourage more moss growth.




Mind you, I don't let her collect too many of these at any given time as that would defeat the purpose of the rock piles, but I do encourage her to look for the prettiest ones.

I've saved most of the stones she has gathered in a special container.  As you can see, we have a moment of whimsy with two of them.


But here are Virginia's special "gems."


We collect, or rather I buy, these during our several visits to the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History located right here in Kennesaw.  These are the only items of interest to her in the gift shop, and Gammie is relieved she doesn't ask for more expensive items!

Virginia's gift of rocks is a loving acknowledgement of fun times spent with her grandparents.  When I ask if she would like us to add this thoughtful collection to one of Papa's stone paths, she is absolutely delighted.  I tell her I'll find a separate area in need of stones so we'll always know they came from her.



And every time we look at them, we'll think of her, and the deep, rock-hard love we have, and will always have, for one another.

Amen!

Monday, December 13, 2021

One in Love

 


Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves. ~Romans 12:10


When we arrive at Sarah and John's home, Virginia greets us with this drawing featured above, and it's obvious she's put so much thought and effort into crafting it.  We are, of course, beyond delighted and honored.  We've missed her more than words can express, yet she has tried to communicate the vacuum that she, too, has experienced in her heart with this tangible reassurance.

Virginia's favored channel of communication is art, but mine is words.  Here is the poem that bubbles up after receiving this special gift.


I've waited, counting days

Until you come and hold

Enfold me in your arms

As we did for years

When we lived close

And never gave a thought

To separation; distance

Does not define our bond

We are one in heart

We are one in spirit

We are one in love


No, distance will never define us.

Love will.

May you all be surrounded by God's love during the Christmas season and in the New Year.

Amen!

Thursday, December 9, 2021

A Walk in the Park

 



How many are your works, Lord!  In wisdom, you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. ~Psalm 104:24


Ever since she is a tyke, granddaughter, Virginia, has always loved being in the great outdoors.  It's no wonder, then that she asks her Papa and me to take her to Umstead State Park, an almost 6,000-acre sanctuary located between the cities of Raleigh, Cary (where we are staying in a condo), and Durham, NC.  She has been there on numerous occasions with her family, but they use the entrance closer to their home in Raleigh.  Loblolly Trail is not only new for us, but new for her, too!

As you can see from the sign above, this isn't a loop trail, so we decide to walk in for forty minutes, then turn around a walk back, knowing that by the time we pop out at the parking lot, it will be lunchtime, and the Chick-fil-A down the street will be calling our names.


Papa and Virginia constantly get ahead of me on our walk.  Turn around, you two!


Some autumn color still remains in the leaves.


Lovely ferns were growing everywhere!



Virginia is so enjoying herself!


Virginia drops back to walk with the slow poke, and Danny snaps some photos.


I still can't get over how much this "baby" has grown!


And what would any family outing be without the obligatory selfie?

I do hope you all enjoyed coming along on this lovely, if very cold, walk with us.  During the coming holidays, I invite you to step back from the hustle and bustle, and take time to enjoy God's marvelous creation all around you.

Amen!

Monday, December 6, 2021

God Knows Us

 


Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again:  Rejoice! ~Philippians 4:4


The last half of November is filled with legendary travel and joyful reunions for my husband, Danny, and me.  He just finished processing gorgeous photos of scenery we enjoy along the way, so I'll share those with you at a later time.  First, I want to focus on the main purpose of our journey:  Seeing our family who now live in Raleigh, North Carolina!

When we arrive at daughter, Sarah, and son-in-law, John's, place on Saturday, it's definitely a time to rejoice!  The hugs all around are indescribably long and longed for.  When Virginia, pictured above, throws her arms around me, I think she will never let go, and that's absolutely fine with me.  I find myself in this moment recalling every embrace we share during our visit; a visit that now seems more like a dream than reality.

But here are some undoubtedly realistic moments.


Savannah


Alexandra




We not only draw pictures and play the fishing game, but endless rounds of UNO, too.  Savannah and Alexandra especially enjoy these games with their Gammie, who manages to get down on the floor and get back up with only a tweak in the hip.  LOL!

I expect all the hugs and laughter, of course, from the family being together, but the biggest surprise is how grand-dog, Finn, greets Danny and me.  Sarah and John tell me he doesn't take to other people readily, but his reaction to us is over the top welcoming.  As soon as I walk through the door, Finn is clamoring for my lap and my attention, and is beside himself with joy when either Danny or I give into his desires.


Alexandra is amazed by this unabashed greeting when she states, "He doesn't know you, but he knows you!"  In other words, Finn has never met you, but he knows you are people he can trust because he senses you love him and love us.

Wow!  Don't you love the reasoning of a six-year-old?  No wonder Jesus told us to become as little children so we could enter the kingdom of heaven!

The girls' unreserved and genuine hugs combined with Finn's enthusiastic welcome should remind us all of the love God has for us.  He never holds back, He never withholds.  He always welcomes us with open arms.

We simply need to turn to Him and revel in His love, His grace, His forgiveness.

God knows me.

God knows you.

Amen!

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!

Merry Christmas!

  So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and ...