Monday, November 23, 2020

Let Us Give Thanks

 


Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. ~1 Chronicles 16:34

For so many of us, this Thanksgiving will look radically different than any we have celebrated in the past.  I don't mind telling you that this holiday has always been my favorite to spend with family.  And now?  We can't risk having anyone into our home, nor can we travel safely to be with anyone else.

This reality can either leave us discouraged and depressed, or we can resolve to give thanks to the Lord for all our many blessings.  Here are just a few of mine:

  • Mom is still hale and hearty!
  • My ever-patient son who has been confined here at our house since the virus' inception.  Daniel, you're a trooper!
  • Weekly FaceTime chats with my daughter, Sarah, and the grand-girls.  Just seeing their faces and hearing their voices gives me so much comfort.
  • Cozy home filled with love and laughter.
  • Amazing meals lovingly prepared by my husband, Danny.
  • Appliances that too many of us take for granted.
  • Crisp, cool autumn days.
  • My blogging buddies.
  • Endless books to devour.
  • The gift of writing.
  • And last, but definitely not least, knowing that God is large and in charge!
Oh, how this list could go on and on and on.  I'm sure you have a thankful list, too, and I hope you'll share that in the comment section.

In the meantime, Danny and I dug up just a few of our photos from Thanksgivings past.  These bring back cherished memories of what was, and what can be again.






This last photo may not look like Thanksgiving, but it is a precious one for all of us.  We are posing for a photo to salute son, Giovanni, who is in the Air Force and couldn't be with us at the holidays.  It's also the last Thanksgiving that Mimi, Danny's mother, spent with us.


Yes, let us give thanks to the Lord, not just on Thanksgiving, but on every day of the year.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

That's a Blessing!

 


Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. ~Hebrews 13:8

The photo above triggers so many joyful memories for me!  When Mom and Dad retire in Oxford, Georgia, they purchase a rambling old home with a beautiful pool in the backyard.  Children and grandchildren alike spend many summer hours splashing, diving and cooling off in the soothing water.

Dad was a stickler when it came to the pool's upkeep.  He cleaned it frequently, and knew exactly the combination of chemicals required to keep the water safe and sanitary.  Between tending his garden and the pool, he was one busy man!

Sadly, in 2012, Dad's Alzheimer's confined him to the house, and then to a hospital bed set up in his office, with round-the-clock nurses in attendance.  Dad went home to Jesus in March of 2014.  Not a day goes by when I don't think about him and miss him with all my heart.

And the pool?  Yes, it's covered, but without constant care, it falls into disrepair.  Recently, Mom called out a pool tech to see if there was a way to restore it, but his advice?  Just fill it up with dirt.  It was that bad!

So, that's exactly what Mom does.



Changes happen in this world whether we like them or not.  I wasn't thrilled about letting go of that pool, but this was a necessary economic choice for Mom.  I take comfort in the memories, though, of how things used to be.

But I take ultimate comfort in knowing that our Lord Jesus never changes.  His Word will always stand, fresh and new, for all eternity.

And that's a blessing!

Amen!

Monday, November 16, 2020

Hanging by a Thread

 


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

What is your take on the photo above?  Is it a lucky capture of a falling leaf by Danny's intrepid camera?  Is it photo-shopped in order to deceive the viewer?

No!  Although you can't see it in this picture, the leaf is held aloft by a gossamer strand of a spider's web dangling from our clothesline.  With the leaves falling at a record pace this time of the year, it still seems impossible that an errant one would be netted and held by a randomly floating cobweb.  I am amazed by the sight of something so unexpected, yet another surprise awaits.


Here, you can actually see the strand that catches a second leaf.  Yes, two are hanging on at once!  What are the odds of that?  My first reaction?  This is a miracle, something I've never beheld in my life.  Only God could arrest our attention in such a way as to remind us that He is the God of the impossible.

Because all of my human, rational thinking process shouts, "This just never happens!"

But it has . . . 

We see, we witness, we believe.  That's what matters.

And in these tumultuous times of upheaval and unrest in our nation, I'm guessing many of you are feeling like your sense and sensibility are hanging by a thread.  One more emotional stressor threatens to push you over the edge, plunging you into the depths of despair.

But God's thread doesn't sway, swerve or let you go, as this web strand, releasing these leaves in a sudden wind gust, does.  He hangs onto you with all His might, willing you to trust in Him and hold firmly to His protective hand.  He's got you, of that you can be sure.

He never fails to turn the impossible into the possible.

And I have no doubt more miracles are yet to come.

Amen!

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Awakening

 


Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. ~Ephesians 6:11-12

Awakening is the fourth novel in Beckie Lindsey's outstanding fictional series, Beauties from Ashes.  While this book most certainly holds its own as a stand-alone work, I heartily suggest that you read the first three books before tackling this latest one.  Secrets, Uninvited and Daybreak can be found on Amazon when you type Beckie's name in the search bar, or you can order them at her website.

To summarize the gist of Awakening, I'm choosing to use Beckie's detailed and stellar description of her book:

As four high school girls are faced with life-altering decisions, their new-found faith will be tested.  Although warrior angels are assigned to guard and assist the unlikely friends, they must rely on their faith to withstand the evil Duke Astaroth and the beast's demonic hoard.

Now that their spiritual eyes are open to daily battles between unseen forces of good and evil, lives are at stake.

  • Lifelong friends, Krystal and Bryce, are finally an official couple.  But can their love survive the greatest trial they've ever faced?
  • Since Mackenzie's mentally ill mother was hospitalized, she secretly worries that her deepest nightmare may come true.
  • While best friends, Tammi and Sadie, continue healing from their abusive pasts, each wrestles with temptations that threaten to undermine their recovery.
Can beauty arise from the ashes of despair and loss?  Will the girls embrace who and whose they truly are?

As you can see from this summary, the Beauties from Ashes series tackles the extremely tough realities many teens and young adults face in our modern society.  Beckie's empathy for those going through such trials shines through in the way she portrays her characters.  I know I found myself longing to reach out to these endearing souls and offer them comfort.

I have said here before that there are few books that I will read more than once.  As I've already read Awakening twice, it certainly breaks that mold!

With Christmas right around the corner, I hope you will consider ordering the entire series for that special teen or young adult in your life.  While you're at it, why not order the series for yourself?  You certainly don't have to be young to benefit from and be inspired by Beckie's work!

About the Author


Beckie Lindsey is an award-winning author of the Beauties from Ashes series, poet, blogger, and the editor of Southern California Christian Voice, a division of One Christian Voice, a national news syndicating agency.  She is a major coffeeholic and enjoys a good book with a cat on her lap.  She also loves to hike and hand out with family and friends.  Beckie and her husband, Scott, have three adult children, two adorable cats and live in California.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Truth From God

 


The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. ~Acts 5:41


They mandated

They proclaimed

Against the witnesses

Who wouldn't, couldn't

Deny their Lord

The "they" lost

In the long run

For Word lived then

Is living now

Truth from God

Stands as witness

Through eternity


Amen!

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Zapped by Zeta!

 


As they sailed, He fell asleep.  A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.  The disciples went and woke Him, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!"  He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.

Can you guess what the above photo represents?  Believe it or not, this is our driveway after the recent tropical storm, Zeta, zaps us!  What a mess doesn't even begin to describe the debris strewn all across our yard and decks.

The day before the storm is scheduled to hit us, my husband, Danny, and I carry our valuables down to the safe shelter of our finished basement.  We make sure our phones are charged just in case we lose electricity, though we rarely do at our home.  And we're pretty sure the high winds will knock out the internet service, too, which it does.  We even take our coffee pot downstairs!

Why?  Because Zeta's entrance into our neighborhood is predicted to be around four o' clock Thursday morning.  We have to set our alarms in order not to sleep through the impending chaos.  Oh, how difficult it is to rouse up in the dark, leaving a warm, inviting bed behind!  Especially when we are uncertain what will even be left of the upstairs rooms in the wake of the gusty winds, which are sure to topple limbs and possibly trees.

We are praying without ceasing that God would spare our roof the moment the winds begin to wail.  Actually, I start praying several days before the impending storm.  Just the thought of more damage to our roof right after we've had a new one installed, churns my stomach.  Yes, there is damage in the yard, but thankfully and miraculously, our home survives unscathed.  God is so good!



This huge limb fell out of a pine tree that took the secondary hit from a lightning strike another pine suffered a year ago last summer.  I don't know if the following photo makes it clear where it fell off, but do try to see it.  If you hover over the photo, it will probably enlarge.


Yes, this tree will now have to be taken down, but we will be all the safer for it.

Our former pastor, Wallace, was renowned for saying this about the storms of life:  "Sometimes, Jesus will calm the storms and rebuke the rising water.  But other times, He says, 'This is a good storm, Wallace; let's ride it out together!'"

Indeed, Jesus most certainly rode out Zeta with us, and we can't thank Him enough for His shield of protection, caring and love.

Amen!

Monday, November 2, 2020

What a Happy Halloween!

 


You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. ~Ecclesiastes 11:9a

How I loved Halloween as a child!  I's spend weeks dreaming up a costume to wear, always made from things we already had on hand.  And when the big night arrived, what a joy it was to go door-to-door in our neighborhood, raking in all sorts of goodies that my mother rarely bought for us.  I would make my stash last as long as possible!

So, naturally, I'm ecstatic that our granddaughters are able to trick-or-treat in their neighborhood this year, in spite of the virus.  Their mom and dad wear masks, but the only disguise this crew needs are smiles.




Aren't these fantastic costumes?  The littlest, Alexandra, longed to be a super hero for Halloween, so of course, she is Batgirl.  Savannah, always the drama queen, is aptly dressed as a princess.  How fitting!  And Virginia?  She doesn't originally want to be a witch, but when they go costume shopping, that's what she decides to be.  With such a gorgeous outfit and happy face, one could never imagine her as the proverbial wicked witch.  No!  Think, Glinda, the Good Witch of the South.

Their hearts are light and joyful as they traverse the neighborhood for two hours with their parents, bringing in, no doubt, even bigger hauls of sweet treats than I could have ever dreamed of as a child.  And knowing their generous spirits, I'm sure they will be more than happy to share the candy with mom and dad.

Maybe, next year, my husband, Danny, and I can travel to South Carolina, and be their Halloween escorts.  Just as I spent days as a kid conjuring up a costume, I can dream today that this will surely happen in 2021.

And the very thought of that gives great joy to my now much older soul.

Amen!

Let Us Give Thanks

  Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. ~1 Chronicles 16:34 For so many of us, this Thanksgiving will look radi...