Friday, May 25, 2018

And the "Hen Award" Goes To . . .


Matthew 23:37
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.

Our granddaughter, Virginia Rose, recently celebrates Awards Day with her fellow second grade classmates.  As you can tell by these photos, this is on exciting time for her!







Refreshments add to the festive atmosphere, and Virginia, as always, ends up wearing a bit of what she's eaten.





Virginia's teacher, Ms. R., has created a marvelous slideshow featuring photos of her class from year's beginning to end.  Of course, all the students are enthralled.



Every student receives a Certificate of Participation, par for the course in this day and age, but it does allow parents and grandparents a fantastic photo-op.







Ms. R. also gives two folders to each of her students, documenting their best work throughout the year.  How thoughtful and caring of her!  A priceless keepsake, and a wonderful way to allow the children to see how far they have come in just one school year.





But of all the accolades of the day, Virginia and I are proudest of this one:





Taking care of her friends . . .

Wow!

And this award suits Virginia to a "T."  She is always reaching out to others, making friends out of strangers, caring for others' feelings, willing to lend an ear or a comforting hug to anyone in need.

Jesus longs to do the same.

Are you willing to let Him?

Amen!


~

It's Memorial Day weekend, and the official arrival of summer break for Virginia, so she and I are heading to my mother's home in Oxford for several days.  I do so treasure your comments on my blog, my friends, but my response will be delayed due to being out of town.  Never fear!  I will get back to you just as soon as possible.  Blessings for a safe and happy weekend, and may we remember to pray and give thanks for all the men and women who died in service to our country.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Listen!


Jeremiah 30:2
"This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says:  'Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you.'"

I'm also convinced that listening to God is not unlike writing:  if I were to wait to write until inspiration struck, I would write practically nothing.  But if I chain myself to my desk every morning at 8:00 a. m. and start typing something - anything - inspiration has a way of unexpectedly pulling up a chair.  ~Adam S. McHugh, The Listening Life

I am fortunate to be a part of an online book club hosted by friend and fellow blogger, Linda Stoll.  Our latest read, The Listening Life, by Adam S. McHugh, has proved to be nothing less than sensational; it has given me an entirely new perspective about how I'm listening, or shamefully, not listening to those around me.  It's not your typical okay-I've-read-this-let's-move-on inspirational book.  No!  It's one I'll return to time and time again to review and assess the ways in which I'm practicing the art of listening well, not only to people, but to God Himself.

While I've highlighted many memorable passages in The Listening Life, the one quoted above grabs my attention faster than flashing blue lights in my rear view mirror.  It reflects the countless hours when God's Holy Spirit pulls up a chair next to me as I write my novels.  Am I instantly aware of His presence?  No, not at first, but as the days and weeks roll by, and the stories begin to unfold, I find myself rereading the words penned, and wondering, not without a profound sense of awe:  "Where did that come from?"

It is then, in a lightning strike of revelation, I know.  Beyond any doubt, beyond any dismissal, I know!  I am simultaneously humbled and elated; so breathlessly excited that I look forward to the next round of writing with ecstatic anticipation.  The minute I "chain" myself to the computer, I offer this invitation:  "Lord, what would you have me write today?"  And God never lets me down.

And I realize, in reading McHugh's work, that what I am engaged with in my writing is a profound submission to God's will.  I'm listening to Him on the deepest possible level without even being conscious of it.  I am surrendering my gifts to Him that He might use them to further His kingdom and His glory.  What could be better than that?

NOTHING!

And friends, all of you reading this have God-given gifts.  Maybe you are blessed to know what they are, or perhaps, you're still waiting to discover them.  I have one word of advice:  Listen!

Sit quietly with the Lord.  Let Him speak to your heart.  Allow Him to reveal Himself to you with an intimacy unlike any other.  Humble yourself.  Submit.

Become one with Him.

Listen!

Amen!


Friday, May 18, 2018

Enlist!

Joel 2:7
They charge like warriors; they scale walls like soldiers.  They all march in line, not swerving from their course.

Danny's oldest son, Giovanni, recently makes a life-changing decision, one that has us bursting with pride.  He enlists in the U. S. Air Force!  As I write this, Giovanni is in Week 3 of basic training, and is slated to graduate on June 14th.  Then it's off to Air Force school for another four months, where he will learn the skills required to become an avionics technician.

When Giovanni graduates from high school several years ago, with no desire to go to college, but with four years of Jr. ROTC under his belt, Danny and I think he might join the military right away.  Looking back, though, we realize that he had neither the confidence nor the maturity to make such a choice.  Giovanni lives with us for quite some time, working different jobs and helping with some bills.  During these years, he develops a keen interest in guns, and takes part in many air-soft military mock-up events.  Here are a few photos from some of those occasions.







He certainly looks the part of a soldier, doesn't he?  All well and good, but now, it's the full meal deal!  We follow the weeks of basic training at this official Air Force website.  It's gratifying to get a glimpse into what Giovanni's life is like now.

What I deem most compelling in these videos is the fact that these soldiers in training, from all races, backgrounds and experiences, learn to work together, to watch each other's backs, and to march in line, not swerving from their course.  

I find myself reflecting, as I see the determined efforts of these brave men and women, on if we as Christians, no matter our denominations, would stand together, work together, for the Good News of God's kingdom, what a phenomenal difference we could make!  Just as these young soldiers come to realize that they are part of something much bigger than themselves, we, too, are part of the biggest fighting force ever, assembled in the name of Christ Jesus, and led by our God of the Angel Armies.

I'm ready to enlist!  Who's with me?

Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you've done everything, to stand. ~Ephesians 6:13

Prayers for Giovanni and his fellow soldiers who have voluntarily chosen to serve and defend our great nation are very much appreciated!

Amen!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Sweet Tooth!


Psalm 119:103
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

In her most recent visit with us, granddaughter, Virginia Rose, decides to don her Amazing Chef apron once again so we can make frozen chocolate-banana pops.  Yes, we've made these before, and Virginia, who asks me which one of her teeth is the "sweet" one, savors this treat, which is both healthy and indulgent at the same time.




She peruses the recipe card and retrieves the utensils we need.



I get out the chocolate chips and olive oil for the gooey coating.



Virginia peels and slices the bananas, and inserts each with a popsicle stick.



We then pop these babies into the freezer for thirty minutes.  About five minutes before they're due to reappear, we get busy with the chocolate mixture.  Virginia measures the chips, not without sampling a few!







Adds the tablespoon of olive oil,





and it's ready to go into the microwave for easy melting.  Once done, Virginia stirs the mixture until smooth, and dips each banana carefully, coating them as best she can.









And it's back into the freezer again to solidify the chocolate.  And though she has to wait two hours for that to happen, Virginia is rewarded for her efforts and patience.





Sweeter than honey?  You bet!

But even sweeter is the Word of God.  One day, Virginia will grasp that eternal truth and, I pray, will choose to live by God's "sweeter than honey" commandments.

May we all do the same.

Amen!


Friday, May 11, 2018

Shout for Joy!


Our respite in the mountains tells so many stories of the wonders of God's creation.  His Word far outweighs any commentary I can possibly write.  So let these verses from the Bible inspire you, and enhance the photos from our glorious time of recreation and renewal spent with one another and with the Lord.  My prayer is that you will be moved to shout for joy at God's marvelous works.

Isaiah 49:13
Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth;
burst into song, you mountains!
For the Lord comforts his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.





Isaiah 45:12
It is I who made the earth and created mankind on it.
My own hands stretched out the heavens;
I marshaled their starry hosts.




Isaiah 60:20
Your sun shall never set; the moon shall not go down - 
for the Lord will be your everlasting light;
your days of mourning all will end.






John 14:2
My Father's house has many rooms;
if that were not so, would I have told you that
I am going there to prepare a place for you?





Psalm 1:3
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither - 
whatever they do prospers.




Matthew 6:26
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap
or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more valuable than they?








Genesis 1:18b
And God saw that it was good.

Amen!

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