Friday, August 30, 2019
I Win, Gammie!
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."
Our two oldest granddaughters, Virginia Rose and Savannah Jane, are both in school. That leaves the youngest, Alexandra Nancy, as the only sibling left at home with her mom, my daughter, Sarah, during the school day. When Sarah asks if I can babysit Alexandra so she can go to a routine doctor's appointment, I am over the moon! This is the first time I've ever been with this precious girl alone without the company of her sisters.
I arrive with with my usual arsenal of games, ones that I played endlessly with Virginia when she was younger, a pack of crayons and some paper. We are ready to party on!
We play all four games several times (sorry, no photos!), and Alexandra is thrilled when she wins more than she loses. "I win, Gammie, I win!" she shouts gleefully. And for the most part, she does, fair and square. True confession: I hang back on the fishing game to let her get the edge on how many she captures, and I sift through the Candy Land deck once to make sure her next pick is the blue card required for a victory. But can you blame me when I'm rewarded with a smile like this?
Next, we spend some time drawing. I write Alexandra's name at the top of the page, and encourage her to copy the letters.
She does so quite well, though not in order. That concept has yet to be grasped, but it is sure to come. "What a great job you're doing, Alexandra!" I exclaim. "You keep practicing like that and you'll be more than ready for kindergarten next year." Oh, how she beams!
Just before Sarah is due to arrive home, Alexandra and I are sitting on the couch together, watching the sweet movie, Air Buddies, when she points to my head and says, "Gammie, you have grey hair." LOL! Out of the mouths of babes! Yes, I do have grey, but I think it's cleverly disguised by blonde highlights. I guess not. Children have such an uncanny talent for calling things as they are, don't they?
All in all, we have a terrific two hours together. There's nothing like being around a child to feel one's own inner child renewed and refreshed. Alexandra, I can truly say, brings out the best in me.
Because we can't be reminded enough that God's kingdom belongs to those who would enter it with trust, love and honesty.
If we can release the baggage we have accrued during this life and simply turn to Jesus, resting out heads on His shoulder, feeling His strong and comforting arms around us, we can declare, as Alexandra did, "I win!"
Tuesday, August 27, 2019
"But he answered one of them, 'I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you.' So the last will be first, and the first will be last."
Yep! That's me in the picture above when it comes to bacon, no exaggeration! Hot, warm or cold, I'll eat bacon whenever and where ever it's offered. Just call me the "Baconator!"
So, it's no surprise that I fry up a batch every so often. Not too often, mind you, as I don't desire it to become a daily thing, but often enough to get my fill of that smoky, crunchy, salty goodness.
What I've noticed over the countless times I've fixed bacon, is how long it takes for the first strips placed in the pan to cook to the appropriate color and crispness. It seems like an eternity!
But when fresh strips are added to the pan, they are quicker to reach the required level of "done."
As you've probably already deduced, it's the fat rendered off, slowly but surely, by the initial bacon strips that aids in the faster frying of the newcomers. Note the bacon on the left side of the pan in the next photo. It is added probably about seven or eight minutes after the four starters in the center, but it appears almost as done as they are!
Almost seems unfair to the pioneers who did most of the work in readying the pan, doesn't it?
Yet, in the parable of the vineyard workers, Jesus turns our human conception of fairness on its head. Whether we learn about God's love and grace as a child on our mother's lap, languishing in our last days, or at any point in between, God loves each and every one of us equally. No differentiation. No favoritism.
Just full acceptance as His child.
And like the bacon, which is delightful from first piece to last, so we are delightful to our Father, when we believe in and follow His Son.
Friday, August 23, 2019
No Magic Required!
Virginia with Grandpa Paul
"This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.'"
School, where we live, starts early - August 1 - to be exact. That's not the case in so many other parts of the country, especially up north. So when our granddaughter, Virginia Rose, is invited to join her Aunt Susan, Uncle Rantz, Grandpa Paul, and her cousins on a trip to Disney World, even though it means missing a week of school, her parents find it impossible to say, "No."
After all, it's Virginia's first visit to the Magic Kingdom, and at nine-years-old, she is guaranteed to make and keep precious memories to last a lifetime.
Wow! Such a happy girl! I can't wait until Virginia is back home, and can tell us all about her fabulous adventures at "The Most Magical Place on Earth!"
While Disney World may claim to be the Magic Kingdom, there is only one kingdom that eclipses all the rest in grandeur and majesty: God's Kingdom. The kingdom we long to experience here on earth when we pray The Lord's Prayer.
And you know what? We can, and without traveling any farther than our own hearts and minds. Let us open them wide to allow God's love and grace to flow into and through us, praying to do His will, caring for others as He cares for all of us.
If each of us would do these things, I think we'd find ourselves smack-dab in the midst of God's Kingdom.
His Miracle Kingdom.
No magic required!
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing.
Visiting with my mother, Nancy, in Oxford, Georgia, is always an enjoyable experience, but I can count on being technologically challenged when I'm there. While she has a strong wi-fi signal at the house, her ancient computer is a pain; I don't even attempt to utilize it.
And don't get me started about the lousy phone service! I get more dropped calls than a beginning juggler has dropped balls.
Thankfully, the era of non-tech at Mom's has come to a blissful end.
Yep! Danny and I are the proud owners of a Chrome Book! He finds it at a great bargain price back in July, when Amazon is having its Black Friday in summer sales. Oh, what a relief to no longer feel disconnected from friends, family and fellow bloggers when I travel!
In fact, I'll be at Mom's today (Tuesday), and plan to stay until Friday. So more than likely, my responses to any comments you leave here will arrive courtesy of the Chrome Book. Plus, I'll be reading and commenting on all your blogs, too. Such a welcome change from struggling to do the same on my phone!
As satisfying as it is to able to stay connected to the people we love, I'm reminded that the one connection we can't live without is our relationship with the Lord. Jesus tells us that unless we abide in Him, we can bear no fruit. A branch can do nothing without the support and nourishment the vine provides.
We need to hold fast to Jesus, and never, ever let go.
How is your connection with Jesus? Maybe it's time to reflect on that.
Friday, August 16, 2019
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
I haven't needed a mouse pad for ages. But the surface of my one-hundred-plus years, former drafting table upon which my computer perches has worn to an unresponsive sheen. The answer? Order that mouse pad, pronto!
Here is what arrives only two days after I place my order. Are these deliveries fast, or what?
So far, I'm loving the gel-packed wrist pad that cradles that most vital part of my body when engaged in web surfing. Such comfort! Even more important than that, however, is the Bible verse featured that reminds to always be joyful, no matter what life slings at me.
Be joyful . . .
This has nothing to do with being happy in the moment to moment, the day to day. Happiness is a feeling.
Joy is a promise.
It may be cliched to say, "Life isn't easy," but it's the truth. Jesus said we would have troubles in this world, and oh, boy! He wasn't kidding!
But Jesus gives us His peace, which passes all understanding, when we trust in Him. It is in that secure, safe place where my joy resides. Flourishes. Even when the world unleashes its tempests, threatening to swamp my little life boat with gloom and sadness, my happiness may vanish, but my joy remains anchored to the One on whom all my hope rests.
Yes, troubles of all kinds may visit us in this lifetime, but they need not rob our joy.
And one day, we will know the ultimate joy and peace when we dwell in heaven with God forever.
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
A Cheerful Giver
2 Corinthians 9:7
Each of you should give what you have decided with your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
My husband, Danny, balances his mind, in careful financial preparedness, with his heart that leans toward generosity. That can be a precarious tension at times for many of us, but he has honed it to a fine art.
When Danny announces his monthly trip to Costco, I expect no more than the items on his list to make their way home to our pantry. Was I blindsided! He enters the kitchen with a gorgeous bouquet of 24 roses, which he presents to me "just because."
Just because . . .
Danny wants to surprise me, which he successfully does. He values my love for him. He cherishes the blessings God has granted to both of us through our marriage.
He loves me!
A cheerful giver describes Danny to a "T."
It's so easy to love someone who loves you back, isn't it?
But Jesus told us that the pagans and tax collectors do that. In following Him, we must do more. We are to love our enemies and pray for them.
We are to be gracious and forgiving toward them.
Gulp! Now that's something, I would dare say, none of us find easy or desirable. Especially in the contentious environment we currently experience in our nation's culture.
YET . . .
It is a command from our Lord.
So, how and where do we start?
Simply in simple acts. I'm reminded of the importance even the seemingly insignificant gesture of kindness shown to another can go a long way. A smile offered. A door held open for the person behind us. Allowing someone with fewer items to jump in front of us in the grocery store line.
Each of these are acts of love shown intentionally with people we don't even know. For some of us, if we ourselves are feeling hurt, forgotten or unforgivable, this can seem like a monumental task.
Yet, if we make the effort to reach out in genuine care to a fellow human being, who is possibly going through a difficult time in his or her life, we could make all the difference.
Not just in their lives, but in ours.
You don't need to break the bank to be a cheerful giver.
You only need to be present, offering your heart, one small, sincere step at a time.
Friday, August 9, 2019
God's Glorious Creation
God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
If you've followed Meditations of My Heart for any length of time, you know that the suburban, yet heavily forested, area in which we live provides not only for people, but for a wide variety of wildlife, coexisting peacefully with their human neighbors. Here is just a sampling from my husband, Danny's, photos.
And just when we think our backyard couldn't possibly get any wilder, look who shows up!
Turkeys! Danny can hardly believe his eyes! He used to spy turkeys years and years ago, before the apartments were built behind our house, but none since then. Where in the world, we wonder, did these two lovely specimens come from?
No matter from whence this mother and juvenile have originated, we are thrilled to have them roaming freely through our neck of the woods, partaking of the feast we leave on the ground for the birds and squirrels.
God's glorious creation never ceases to amaze and astound us. May we all resolve to be good stewards of the many blessings He has so graciously bestowed on us.
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
I Never Knew
I never knew, Lord
If I did, I'd stay
At home, safe from fray
But I chose to go
The school supplies I need
For my children, calling
Compelling me to move
And suddenly, no more
I won't be going home
To them. Alone they are
Except for Your promise
That You will never leave them
For Your faithfulness
Reaches to the skies.
I pen this poem on the day of the horrific shooting in El Paso, Texas, only to wake the next morning to read about more mass casualties in Dayton, Ohio. Let us pray for the innocent victims who are now with the Lord, their grieving families and friends, and for the healing of our nation, one torn and heartbroken by these recent tragedies. May God heal and restore our country, and strengthen our resolve to serve Him.
Friday, August 2, 2019
Covered by Love
1 Peter 4:8
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
One of the inevitable pitfalls of getting older is the onset of facial wrinkles. I'll be the first to admit I don't like them taunting me every time I look in the mirror, but I can't deny their presence.
Yes, I use various lotions to try to minimize the situation, and I employ make-up to help soften the look of age. But nothing I can do will ever erase them completely. Believe it or not, I'm okay with that. As Mrs. Fairchild says in my novels, they aren't wrinkles, they're "life lines."
I like that!
So, in light of this, when my senior high school photo emerges at my mother's house, I'm not envious of the youthful, supple face that was once mine. Do I feel a bit nostalgic for the bygone days? I suppose so, but never do I feel the longing to turn back the hands of time.
When granddaughter, Virginia Rose, and I travel to Mom's house earlier this summer, Great-Nana thinks it a grand idea to show her this picture. Oh, no! What will Virginia think about her ancient Gammie now? What will she say?
Virginia takes one look at the photo, then turns to me with a broad smile and states the last thing I'd ever expect to hear: "You look just the same, Gammie!"
WHAT??? And immediately, I wonder if this child needs her eyes checked! But the second thought I entertain is the why Virginia views my appearance in this way.
I glance over at my ninety-one-year-old mother, and the answer hits me like the proverbial ton of bricks. I don't see an aged woman, I see her! The person who raised me, cared for me and loved me with a deep and abiding commitment. A precious love we'll always share.
It's the same kind of love Virginia has for me, and I for her.
A love guaranteed to cover over a multitude of sins.
And wrinkles, too!
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