Friday, July 28, 2017

Lost and Found

Luke 15:32
But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.

Do you ever forget where you park your car when you go shopping?  I have.  The ironic thing is, though, I'm more prone to "lose" my car in the relatively small parking lot of our local Publix than I am at Costco or any other big box store.

There are two reasons for this.  Number one:  As I drive a modestly-sized Scion, its whereabouts is easily concealed by any truck or SUV parked next to it.  The Publix lot, being of insignificant size, poses no problem for me locating it in a short span of time.  Number two:  When I park at Costco with its HUGE (my word for the year) lot, and rarely spaces available anywhere near the store, I am oh, so careful to note where I've parked my car relative to the entrance.  Because I'm extra conscious of location, finding my Scion after my shopping trip is always a breeze.

And it is no different during my last venture to Costco on my monthly run.  I find a space, take stock of my surroundings, grab my Costco I.D., our debit card, my list, the keys, lock the car, and I'm off to the races.

Maybe it's because the store is uncomfortably crowded on this day.  Or that it's taking me longer than expected to score the items I need.  Or that the checkout lanes are monstrously long.  Whatever the reason, by the time I exit the store and set out confidently toward my car, it isn't long before I realize the unthinkable.  

It's.  NOT.  Where.  I.  Left.  It!!!

My mind begins to race, entertaining a whole host of illogical and panic-inducing scenarios, while my body fries in the 100+ degree heat radiating off the asphalt.  It has to be here!  Could someone have actually stolen it?  My keys are right here in my hand!  Oh, great!  My purse AND my phone are in the car.  All my cash and credit cards . . . I can't even call for help!  Is this how Alzheimer's starts?  Will I end up like Dad?  Oh, please, Lord, please!  Where is my car?

Roving hither and yon like a mad woman, crazily willing my Scion to miraculously appear, God grants me a saving thought of clarity.  You simply forgot where you parked.  Go!  Look!  With a combined wave of determination and perspiration, I push my cart up, up, up the hill, hoping beyond hope that when I turn the next corner, my car will be in plain sight.

Oh, joy!  Rapture!  There is my sweet, silver Scion parked exactly where I didn't remember leaving it.  As tears of relief fill my eyes, I'm so grateful for the sunglasses I'm wearing.  Over and over and over again, with every sweaty step I take, I thank God that what I thought was lost has now been found.


"Losing" my car on this day called to mind the verse above from the Gospel of Luke.  When we wander away from God's will, when we stray like errant sheep, He calls us back to Himself, and rejoices when we, like the Prodigal Son, return to His open arms.  There in God's embrace, we find our hope, our comfort, and our purpose.

And we can rest in His peace, knowing we are never separated from His presence.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
~Psalm 139:7-10


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Good and Perfect Gift

James 1:17
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

2 Timothy 1:9
He has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.  This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time . . .

Eldest granddaughter, Virginia Rose, and youngest, Alexandra Nancy, have birthdays exactly five years and two days apart, July 21 and July 23.  So this past Saturday, we celebrate the milestones of ages seven and two with one big party for both girls.

Virginia wastes no time getting her party groove on.

Alexandra, however, is much more interested in playing with toy cars than wondering what could possibly be wrapped up for her in the big box behind her.  (Note the Elmo paper - Alexandra is crazy about "Momo" as she calls him.)

Savannah Jane, flaunting her new hair barrettes, opts not to wear a party hat.  This speaks volumes about her personality!

We all sit down to eat lunch, and Virginia shows great restraint in not asking when she can open her gifts.  But when the time finally arrives, she's on it like a fly on honey!

Thrilled with the $5 from her Nonna (Danny's mom).

Virginia loves this book about the space shuttle; she is really into science!

And what's this?  Wow!  A gift card to Catch Air, an indoor playground, from her Nana (my mom).  All three sisters can enjoy this with her!

Silly face when Virginia opens the checkers game from her Uncle Daniel.

And she's all smiles when she unwraps the shirt we had made for her.

Now it's Alexandra's turn.  She's not quite getting the hang of this unwrapping business, preferring to wave the tissue paper than see what's actually inside the box.

When Alexandra discovers the shoes, she can't wait to put them on.  Aren't they the cutest?

Alexandra's sisters strip the Elmo paper off while she looks on.

What could it possibly be?  Daddy pulls something large and red out of it.

Why, it's an Elmo chair!!!

Alexandra takes to it right away.

Whoa!  This is comfy!  Can somebody turn on the TV and bring me my bottle?

Alexandra is so enamored with her new chair, she can care less when it's time to blow out the candle on her cupcake.  Savannah happily steps up to the task.

Yep, Gammie, these are mighty good!

You're Number One, Gammie!

Yes, it would seem we nailed it in getting good and perfect gifts for Virginia and Alexandra.  But it never needs to be a birthday, Christmas or other special occasion for the Father of the heavenly lights to lavish His gift of grace upon us.  It is given freely in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time . . .

Think about that for a moment.  From the beginning of time.  Can you wrap your head around that?

I know I can't.

The good news is, I don't have to.  And neither do you.

It's there to be unwrapped and cherished every moment of every day.

THE good and perfect gift!


Friday, July 21, 2017

Happy Birthday, Virginia Rose!

Psalm 139:14
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

Seven years ago today, our oldest granddaughter, Virginia Rose, arrives, filling our lives with joy and our hearts with love.  My, sweet girl, it doesn't seem possible that so much time has flown by since you were born!  So today, let's take a look back to see how much you have grown.

So tiny!

Changing by the month . . .

First Birthday - We keep wondering when you'll get hair!

Second Birthday

Third Birthday

Fourth Birthday with Racer in tow!

Fifth Birthday - a new backpack to start kindergarten

Sixth Birthday - celebrated at the beach with your Mom and Dad, aunts, uncles and cousins

But we celebrate when you get back home.

And here you are at VBS, a mere month away from turning seven!

Happy Birthday, Virginia Rose!  Never forget that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that God loves you always!

And you did grow that hair after all, didn't you?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

My Prayer Corner

Acts 2:42
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Do you have a special place in your home set aside for Bible/devotional reading and prayer?

I do. That is until my son moves in with us last year, and is given the spare bedroom where I've set up shop.  Do I miss it?  Definitely!  I so like having a dedicated space for home worship and study.

But I work it out.  Sometimes, I'm at our dining room table.  Other days, weather permitting, I sit on our back deck, a delightful venue where I'm surrounded by forest and bird songs.

Still.  It's not quite the same . . .

It isn't until I decide several weeks ago to stand, instead of sit, at my computer desk, that I'm given a revelation.  In looking for spot in our living room to stash the chair, an underutilized corner catches my eye.  The space is too small for an armchair or rocker, but it's the perfect fit for this chair!

And the window seats provide the means to set up what I now call my Prayer Corner.  No, it's not fancy, but everything I need to spend quiet time with God is here.

My Bible and notebook for reflecting on Scripture

My current devotional and Prayer/Thankfulness Journal

And a whole host of gentle reminders that the Lord is near.

Don't you just love this bookmark?

Kneeling Angel

The Risen Lord

Inspirational Messages

And of course, my Walk to Emmaus rooster!

How I love my new Prayer Corner!

And I hope, if you don't have a devoted area in your home for daily communion with God, that you will consider creating one.

If you do have a spot already set aside, I hope you will describe, in the comments section, the sanctuary you've created as an inspiration to others.

May God bless and keep you all!


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