Sunday, September 25, 2022

Roots Take Hold

 


Consider how the wild flowers grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. ~Luke 12:27

I spring forth unexpected

A wanton, lowly weed

Adorned in yellow

Not the color of cowardice

But of sunny survival

I bloom where I'm planted

And thrive against odds

For I'm content to call home

Wherever God intends 

For my roots to take hold

And when I go to seed

I am grateful still.

Amen!

Sunday, September 18, 2022

How Different, How Alike

 


There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. ~Galatians 3:28

How different we are

Yet how alike 

In loving the same

Precious persons

With no exception

We deeply care

In every moment

Miss them when

Time demands absence

From one another

We wait anxiously

Until we feel loving touch

Soothing voices calling

Renewing, so we know

We are never alone

Our loved ones manifest

In our one-another love

And that's a comfort divine.

Amen!



When my daughter, Sarah, sends me these photos of their dog, Finn, and their cat, Henry, I am reminded of how my cat, Jordan, and my dog, Maggie, bonded in such an unconventional and unexpected way years ago.  Tradition tells us that cats and dogs simply cannot and do not get along.  That is not proved in my life experience.  I'm convinced that when love is shared, in the animal kingdom and in the human realm, there are no obstacles we cannot overcome.
In today's contentious and divisive society, this is a powerful lesson we all need to learn.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Queen Elizabeth II

 


"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master's happiness!'" ~Matthew 25:21

The past week brought with it an unexpected turn of events that have plunged the world into mourning.  Queen Elizabeth's death at 96 years of age, though not entirely unexpected, marks the end of an era highlighted by the civility, duty and devotion she displayed to her country in love and selflessness, throughout her 70-year reign.  There is no monarch, past or present, who can hold a candle  to her longevity and exemplary dedication and service to her country and to her God.

The passing of the beautiful Queen also stirred up memories of losing my own mother, who was born in 1928, just two years after Elizabeth's presence graced this world.  I'm propelled back in time to the wonder and strength, faith and fortitude of the greatest generation, the one passing away before our very eyes as the days progress at a speed beyond our control.  We deeply miss our loved ones who promoted the values of common decency, truth and responsibility which all of us should don as the mantel of our life's purpose.

As the entire world mourns the loss of Queen Elizabeth II, I am reminded of her well-known quote:  "Grief is the price we pay for love."  Yes, your Majesty, indeed, it is.  And you were loved as greatly as you loved others.

Rest in peace, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, and share joyfully in your Master's happiness.

Amen!




Thursday, September 8, 2022

His Invitation

 


The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he might stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. ~Psalm 37:23-24


Invitation offered.  Will you accept?

Placing one foot before the other

Dedicated to journey unknown

Mysterious to you only because

The Lord knows your path, destination

Way before your decision to accept

Becomes undeniable reality

Take that first step, followed by

Another and another, in faith alone

When all else fails and fades away

His invitation will ever remain.

Amen!  


~


My friends, my family really needs your prayers.  With the children back at school, my daughter, Sarah, was able to secure a job at a grocery store that is within walking distance from their home, and her training has been going swimmingly.  Unfortunately, youngest daughter, Alexandra, came home from school on Wednesday with a diagnosis of Covid - highest temp at 104 before Tylenol and a cold bath.  I have every confidence that this little one will pull through, but Danny and I worry that this glitch in Sarah's schedule could effect the future of this most needed job for her.  Please pray for understanding on the part of her new employers and for restoration of health for precious Alexandra!


Thank you, and blessings to all!

Do you need prayers for friends and family?  Please let me know in the comments.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

My Little Big Girl

 


Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. ~Psalm 62:5


My little big girl

So grown and yet so young

Innocence surrounds you still

Despite world's influence hung

About your shoulders, weary

Before their time is near

To face the wiles of growing up

In spite of doubts and fears.

God is with you through it all

His grace, your joy, to find

In unfettered, dreamless sleep

That leaves the world behind.

Amen!

Monday, August 15, 2022

Taking a Break

 


Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. ~Psalm 42:5


Lately, I've been struggling with overwhelming feelings of melancholy mixed with bittersweet nostalgia.  These emotions are leaving me drained of the energy I need to keep posting regularly here at Meditations of My Heart.  I'm not saying that you won't be hearing from me as the days roll on, but I've decided to only post when the Spirit moves me to do so.

Will I be keeping up with your blogs?  Of course!  I'm not going anywhere, so to speak.  In fact, the tides could turn has early as tomorrow and BOOM!  A new blog appears in your email or Blogger reading list.  Just don't count on the Tuesday/Friday routine, at least in the near future.

Know that I so appreciate and value all of my readers, and hope you'll be patient with me.  The feelings I'm experiencing are taking their toll; I feel strongly that I need to confront them head-on and allow myself the grace to heal.

But before I go, it's time to announce the winner of The 56 giveaway.  Drum roll please . . . And the winner is:  Pamela Steiner who blogs at Closed Doors, Open Windows!  Congratulations, Pamela!!!  I will mail the book to you this week, my friend, so be on the lookout!

Love and blessings to all of you, my dear friends and loyal readers!

Amen.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Keep it Simple

 


Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment, and the second is like it:  'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" ~Matthew 22: 37-39


Last week, I officially begin physical therapy at an outlet called Benchmark.  My coach, Stephanie, is nothing but helpful and encouraging as I try each new exercise she introduces.  The routines seem, on the surface, to be innocuous.  And I wonder - how can such simple movements lead to rehabilitation?  Will these really increase my strength, mobility and balance?

But as I pursue these routines and try new ones, I begin to realize that the simpler way is the best path to take.  Not just in physical exercise, but in spiritual exercise, too.  

Jesus main message to us is as simple and straightforward as it can get:  We are to love God first, and love our neighbor as ourselves.  Period.  No ifs, ands or buts.

No unnecessary complications.

Yes, the daily humbling of ourselves to follow these commandments may seem repetitive, but it is all working toward a greater good - honoring God in all things.  And who doesn't want to do that?

There's nothing wrong with reading devotionals, participating in Bible study or reading God's Word.  In fact, it's icing on the cake when we don't take our eyes off the real prize.

But, keeping it simple goes a long, long way in our journey with Jesus.  Let's not overcomplicate things when His message is so clear and concise.

Yes, let's keep it simple; simply about God.

Amen!

Monday, August 8, 2022

Don't Hesitate

 


But now, this is what the Lord says - he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel:  "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine." ~Isaiah 43:1


Here is my hand

Will you take it?

No fear in the journey

When we're together

Steps are not as steep

Detours make no difference

Miles turn into moments

Thirsts are quenched

Here is my hand

Will you take it?

The choice is yours

It always has been

But when you hesitate

You break my heart.

Amen

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Can We Know?

 


Do you know how the clouds are balanced, those wonderful works of Him who is perfect in knowledge? ~Job 37:16


Can we know God?

Can we know the Lord?

The One perfect in knowledge?

His revelations

Are everywhere we look

When we pause, take time

To surrender to

His majesty; aware

Of the glory that

Belongs to Him alone.

And will to everlasting

Days, years, eternal

To guide finite days

And lead on forever

Until He brings us

Home to Him.

Amen

Monday, August 1, 2022

Starry, Starry Night


 He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. ~Psalm 147:4

When we host our granddaughter, Virginia, for two weeks in June, we are surprised to learn that she has never been to a Cracker Barrel.  Wow!  Well, when I stop and think about it, it makes sense as her mom and dad are sticking to a budget, especially in these times of economic challenges for middle-class families.  So, it's up to Gammie and Papa to spoil Virginia just a little when we can.  Yes, that's hot chocolate!

We are not used to having to wait to be seated at a Cracker Barrel, no matter how busy they appear to be, but this time, the delay in seating is not due to volume, but to a lack of servers to attend efficiently to customers.  A sad sign of the times, indeed!  But we did take this opportunity to explore their iconic, one-of-a-kind country store.  Virginia is immediately taken by the variety of offerings.  And since she is such a fan of all things space, I'm not surprised when she falls in love with this star/moon headband.  She has me take a photo of it on her head as there were no mirrors there to check out how she looks in it.


I think she looks great, don't you?

Virginia loves the headband, but knowing how many gifts we've already gotten for her, she doesn't ask.  So, of course, this Gammie is determined to buy one to send as a birthday gift in July.

When we return home from our travels, I visit our local Cracker Barrel to purchase the headband and a NASA hat for Virginia and a Bible story book for Alexandra, whose birthday falls two days after Virginia's.






We also ordered the UNO sister game, DOS, for Alexandra, which she is truly excited about.  It is inadvertently helping her with math skills!


Oh, how I wish we could have been there to celebrate these girls' birthdays, but we are so happy to have the photos to enjoy and cherish.

And I hope that every time Virginia wears her starry crown . . .


she will recall the night sky she observed at the cabin.


And give thanks to the One who made it all happen!

Amen!

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Free Indeed

 


Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. ~John 8:36

Give me liberty, or give me death. ~Patrick Henry, 1736 - 1799


In the late 1700s, in the fortuitous country that would become the United States of America, the ideals and values of a nation truly free because of God's grace, and His unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, would become, miraculously, realized.  But not without our Founding Fathers being aware of, yet willing to sacrifice fortunes and ranks, lives and livelihoods, to see it happen.

Oppression under the Crown of England was tolerated by the colonies until it no longer served them or their interests - think taxation without representation and viewing American colonists as the great unwashed.  With so many of our unique freedoms taken for granted in today's society, it's easy to forget that our Founding Fathers were willing to pay whatever price was necessary to secure these freedoms for posterity.  Their wisdom was, inarguably, God-inspired.  For it is Christian values that rule the precepts both in our Constitution and in the most daring document in American history - The Declaration of Independence.

When I was feeling a bit despondent this last July 4th, because so many voices in the media were hell-bent on disparaging and delegitimatizing our Founding Fathers, I thankfully discovered this marvelous gem of a book, The 56 by Douglas MacKinnon.  Immediately, the information contained within boosted my spirits, and reminded me why we should, to this day, be proud of our conception as a nation, founded on our God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

MacKinnon does an outstanding job of setting the stage for what is happening in the colonies when it's decided to convene a Constitutional convention as a first step in declaring from England.  He then goes on to detail the lives of all 56 men who courageously signed the Declaration.  An overwhelming majority of these delegates had substantial wealth, and stood to lose everything to the Crown for their traitorous actions.  Yet, to a man, each one was more than willing to take that risk.

I found myself both inspired and grateful as I read the brief biographies of each of our distinguished signers.  MacKinnon successfully fleshes out personalities, and makes readers feel as if they are in the same room with these giants of history.  Yes, The 56 is that good!

In light of this, I'm giving away a copy of the book to one lucky winner who comments here.  Your name will be placed in a "hat," and I'll have Danny draw the name of the winner two weeks from now, and I'll announce that winner on the blog.

And if you don't win?  I do hope you will order this gem of a book for yourself, and then pass it along to friends and neighbors, or donate to your church library for the edification of others.

As President Reagan warned us decades ago:  "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction."

May we resolve to keep the lights of liberty shining!

Amen! 



About the author:

Douglas MacKinnon served as a writer in both the Reagan and Bush administrations.  He later joined the Pentagon where he had top secret government clearance.  His other books include Vengeance is Mine, and a memoir, Rolling Pennies in the Dark, all available on Amazon.

Monday, July 25, 2022

Never Alone

 


Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I flee from your presence? ~Psalm 139:7


As I've mentioned on the blog here and there, I'm not fully recovered from my bout with pneumonia last January.  I've come to accept the fact that it's simply going to take more time, and I have to be patient with myself and with the pace my body is taking.  Do I wish this process was faster?  Of course!  But I've learned, too, that if anything good is going to happen, it will be in God's time, and God's alone.

I have a visit with my doctor last Wednesday to ask lots of questions and get his take on my progress thus far.  One area of concern for me, as it has seemingly come on quickly and unexpectedly, is hair loss.  Yes, my hair has always been on the fine side, but not to the point where there are notable "partings" where there should be none.  Luckily, the hair growth supplement I've been taking for about a month and a half gets a thumbs up from Dr. S., who advises me to continue that regimen (the brand is Hairprin).  He doesn't think it's a result of any medication I was prescribed during my convalescence, and it does appear to be working.  Keep your fingers crossed!

The battery of blood test Dr. S. orders come back with little to no complications.  It seems I'm getting adequate nutrition in my system, and though my hips still ache, no red flag indicating arthritis pops up.  For the persistent discomfort and limited mobility, Dr. S. orders some physical therapy, which I begin next Monday.  Yes, I have been walking on the treadmill, but I know I need something more targeted toward the problem.  Suffice it to say, in the meantime, I'm thankful for handicap ramps!

Dr. S. also prescribes a visit to the imaging department to have a bone scan done.  It's been years since my last assessment.  I have been supplementing my diet with calcium and vitamin D, so I'm hoping for the best.

Some truly wonderful news, though, is the status of my blood pressure.  When I'm released from the hospital, my feet go through fits of swelling; so badly at times, that I can't even get my shoes on!  So, Dr. S. takes me off amlodipine, which is known to contribute to swelling, and switches me to a betablocker called Carvedilol.  The only side effect to this drug is occasional sleepiness.  It turns out, this is the culprit in my almost daily need for short naps.  Dr. S. tells me not to worry about it, and just enjoy the rest time.  Okay, I'll take it!  Especially, since my blood pressure reads at the most perfect score I've seen in years:  110/70!!!  Think quitting smoking has something to do with that?

Yet, through all of these changes, discoveries and adjustments, I've never felt alone in my struggles.  I've had the distinct conviction, day in and day out, of God's abiding presence right beside me, ready to give comfort, relieve worry, and calm my heart and mind.  There is no place I can go in this world where He cannot or will not be found.

So no matter what you're facing today, friends, know that you are loved and treasured by our Father in heaven.

You are never, ever alone.

Amen!

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Living Waters

 


Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." ~John 4:10


Relief for aching feet

Tested by mountain

Terrain, determined to

Reach the summit

Achieve the goal set

In lowlands, where

Achieving the heights

Are only but dreams

Yet dreams with hope

Will prevail because

The power of living water

Courses through the veins

Conveying strength, resolve

To accept the blessing

A willing heart receives

When seeking God's promise

That living waters prevail.


Amen!




Monday, July 18, 2022

On Top of the World

 


I will lift my eyes to the hills -

From whence comes my help?

My help comes from the Lord,

Who made heaven and earth. ~Psalm 121:1-2


When anyone mentions Clingman's Dome, the above image is usually what comes to mind.  Have I been up there?  Yes, many moons ago when I was 10 and our family vacationed in the Great Smoky Mountains.  It's certainly worth the long and arduous trek up the concrete path at least once in a lifetime to view a mountain panorama bar none.

But that's not the walk Danny has planned today with Virginia.  There is an offshoot trail that few people know about and fewer travel.  It actually intersects the famous Appalachian Trail!  I've trekked this with Danny before; it is marvelous, but I know from experience this isn't a trail I can navigate now.  My legs are still not being the most cooperative I'd hoped they would be at this stage in my long road to recovery after the pneumonia incident.  But I am so excited for Virginia, knowing how much she will enjoy the wonderful views!

So, with Danny carrying their lunches, off they go on a new adventure; I stay back with the car and my own lunch.  The parking lot is jammed, and we are so fortunate to find a parking space at all, so while Danny and Virginia go a-wandering, I spend the time reading and people-watching.

Thankfully, my two hikers return with plenty of photos to share.
















Danny and Virginia are so blessed to have such gorgeous weather for hiking on Clingman's Dome.  I know Virginia will treasure these memories all her life.

Amen!

Thursday, July 14, 2022

We're On Our Way!

 


Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. ~Proverbs 16:13


Danny and I have traveled for years to different Watershed cabins located in the Nantahala Mountains of North Carolina.  We know the route like the backs of our hands, and we have special places we like to stop along the way.

Usually, our lunch spot is at Chick-fil-A in Ellijay, Georgia.  But when Virginia a Longhorn in the vicinity, she asks if we can eat there instead.  The reason?  She wants to try their lava cake she's heard so much about.  So, after she finishes her lunch, Papa orders one for her, not realizing the sheer size of it!





At least, the waitress brings three spoons, but even with all of us taking bites, it's impossible to conquer, much like our ice cream in downtown Kennesaw.  When did establishments start over-sizing desserts?

Our next pitstop is a beautiful and serene rest area in Andrews, North Carolina.  We stopped there with Virginia on her first trip with us to the cabin, Nantahala Gorgeous.



And here we are in June of this year!  You can tell by the photos that it's the same season of our initial visit.  Isn't it a serene and lovely place?





Unlike our first trip with Virginia, we don't stop at the Nantahala Outdoor Center to watch the rafters; it's simply way too crowded!  We opt to just keep going to our destination - Big Sky Lodge.



Ironically, this is the cabin we originally stayed in when Danny's heart rate dropped so low, we ended up at the Bryson City hospital and had to be transported by ambulance to Asheville; Danny needed emergency surgery to install a life-saving pacemaker!  As you can imagine, I am less than thrilled to be returning to the "scene of the crime," but this was the only cabin available during the time we'd planned for this trip.  You can read all about those harrowing adventures here.  

Fortunately for us, this visit is filled with happy memories and breathtaking views.






Tomorrow, we plan to pack our lunches and head out to Clingman's Dome, the highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains!  Won't you tag along with us?

Amen!

Once again, my link isn't working.  Is anyone else having this issue?  If you go into my archives, click on April 2017.  The blog is entitled The Voice of the Lord.  Thanks, friends!

Roots Take Hold

  Consider how the wild flowers grow.  They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one...