Thursday, April 28, 2022

Happy Birthday!

 


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." ~Luke 18:16

Not a day goes by that I don't miss our granddaughters.  That's especially true when the distance between us keeps us from celebrating special occasions together.  Middle grand, Savannah, just marks her 8th birthday this past Wednesday.  She is growing up so fast!




The last birthday where we could all get together, before they moved out of state, was Savannah's 5th.  What a sweet time that was!





But I'm so happy to have these photos from my daughter, Sarah.  While they aren't a substitute for actually being there, they are most certainly better than nothing!

Do you think Savannah likes the books she receives from her Gammie and Papa?


I think she does!!!

So, Happy Birthday, precious princess!  May God bless you and keep you!

Amen!

Monday, April 25, 2022

How Does Your Garden Grow?

 


"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree:  As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near." ~Matthew 24:32


Because our house is surrounded by trees, we can't grow a traditional garden.  But we take great delight every spring in planting shade-tolerant plants on our deck.

There are three perennials that stick with us through the winter, and are flourishing once again.  The sedum is staging a slow but sure comeback.


The Creeping Jenny is as feisty as ever!



And the hydrangea's back and better than ever.  Can you see the small flower buds forming?


We're not sure if this basil plant will last through the summer; it does need more sunlight than our deck affords.  Danny picks it up on a recent trip to Publix because it was on sale, and he has a soft spot for herbs.  We'll keep our fingers crossed!


Just this week, we visit our neighborhood Pike's Nursery and pick up these beauties.



They are different varieties of New Guinea Impatiens.  We had one last spring, and its continuous plethora of blooms could not be beat.  Our hope is that these flowers will be just as lush and fruitful as their predecessor was.

Seeing our deck all "decked" out gives me such peace in the moment and faith that the long summer ahead will be one of beauty and precious memories, especially with our Virginia coming here in the month of June.


What will you be planting this spring?


Amen!

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Birds of a Feather

 


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


When we FaceTime this week with daughter, Sarah, and the girls, Virginia talks about all the fun she had over the Easter holidays with her dad's family.  I expect to hear only about decorating eggs and then going on the hunt for them, so I'm quite surprised to learn that her grandpa took them to a local bird sanctuary called Sullivan Heights Bird Park.  Virginia is so fascinated by these birds she's never seen before, she takes several photos.









I wish I could identify each of these species, but the only two I'm sure about are the toucan and flamingo.  Anyone want to step up to the plate and give us the names of the other birds?

Those of you who regularly follow this blog know that Virginia is quite the budding artist.  When she gets home from this memorable trip, she proceeds to sketch the birds from the photos she's taken.








Aren't these spectacular?  I think we can all agree that Virginia has a marvelous talent!

The truth is, God has endowed each one of His children with special gifts we can develop and use for His glory.  Not everyone can be an artist like Virginia.  But your unique gift may be writing, singing, composing, encouraging, teaching, sports - and the list could go on and on and on.

And when we put God's gifts to use, we can rest assured that we will be doing His will and walking in His ways, to His honor, bringing His kingdom closer to earth, one loving gesture at a time.

What gifts has God given you?

Amen!

Monday, April 18, 2022

For God so Loved . . .

 


For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. ~John 3:16


From the time she can walk, we host an Easter egg hunt for granddaughter, Virginia.


And years later, her sisters, Savannah and Alexandra join in.



What happy celebrations we share before the family moves away . . .

I truly wish that Danny and I could have spent Easter with our beautiful granddaughters, but we are thankful that they could do so with our son-in-law, John, his sister and her husband, along with their children, and his parents, Grandpa and Kiki.  The photos my daughter, Sarah, share with us more than capture the fun and joy the cousins are having on this glorious holiday, creating lasting family bonds of love.

And isn't that what Easter is all about?  God's love for His children?









From L-R:  Virginia, Savannah, Evie, Griffin, and Alexandra


Acting goofy!


The outdoor Easter egg hunt!  Look who found the Golden Egg - 


Alexandra!

I sincerely hope, my friends, that your Easter filled you with peace, joy, hope, and most of all, love!

Amen!

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Just as He Said

 


From that time on, Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed, and on the third day, be raised to life. ~Matthew 16:21


Disciples witness Friday's horror

Powerless to intervene

Trembling in fear they could be next

To take up a cross, to follow Him

But where?  When?  He perishes

Before their unbelieving eyes

Confused, afraid, they flee for cover

Shadowed by guilt, cowardice, grief

Consumed by disbelief, they fail

To recall His promise to rise

From death to life, to renew hope

In God's salvation for all time

Tears blur a clear vision

On that Saturday bereft

Of Jesus' presence, that blinds them

To Easter's blessed arrival

Is it any wonder they dismiss

The women's report that He is risen?

Doubt, the enemy of faith, 

Dispelled.  Stone rolled away

An empty tomb confirms

The Lord has risen, just as He said.

Amen!

Monday, April 11, 2022

All Eyes on Jesus!

 


"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."  "Come," he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.  "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" ~Matthew 14:28-31


Two weeks ago, I make a big mistake.  Thinking I have room to squeeze past the car in front of me in order to secure access to the left-hand turn lane, I misjudge the distance and manage to scrape the side of the other vehicle, damaging my rearview mirror in the process.  Fortunately for me and the other driver, a county police officer is right behind us, so we don't have to summon one to the scene.

No one is physically hurt, but I'm certainly shaken up.  I haven't had a ticket in over 30 years, and that was for rolling through a stop sign.  I know, of course, that this accident is all my fault.  And as I sit in my car, waiting for the policeman to issue me a ticket, I have time to replay the whole incident, questioning how and why my mind could be so distracted as to cause my lapse in judgment.

It doesn't take long to pinpoint the reason for my less-than-attentive attitude.  I'm returning home after a checkup with my pulmonologist.  Do you recall how I refused to submit to the doctors taking a lung sample while I'm still in the hospital?  Well, guess what they want to do now.  You got it!  I'm none too thrilled, to say the least, especially at the prospect of having my lungs temporarily collapsed.  Even though Dr. Chan assures me there is no hurry to have the procedure done, he is adamant about going through with it, and schedules me to meet with a pulmonary surgeon at the end of April.

Okay, so there's my excuse for failing to be on my game when I get in this accident, but it really isn't an excuse.  When I get behind the wheel, my one and only focus should be on safe driving.  If uninvited thoughts intrude, I should pull over and take time to pray about what's troubling me.  Had I taken time to refocus my thoughts on Jesus, I'm sure peace of mind would have returned to me, and this unfortunate accident would have been avoided.

It's the same story with Peter.  He is just fine walking on the water until he takes his eyes off Jesus.  Distracted by his earthly fears of wind and waves, he loses sight of the One who can, and does, save him.  How many times in our lives have we done the same, much to our shame and chagrin?

I don't like the fact that I had to learn this lesson the hard way, but I'm grateful to the Lord for His wake-up call.  Losing my focus on Him could have resulted in a more dire circumstance.  I'm so thankful for a slap on the wrist instead of a broken one.

How about you?  Have you taken your eyes off Jesus only to be plunged into an abyss of your own making?

Let's pray!

Amen!

Thursday, April 7, 2022

You Can't Go Home Again

 


Jesus replied, "Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." ~Matthew 8:20

This past week, it becomes official.  The property in Oxford that belonged to Mom and Dad, and enjoyed by our family for twenty years, is now in the hands of its purchaser, Emory (Oxford) University.

In my head, I realize that this day has to come.  My brother, Bill, and I need to shed ourselves of the responsibility and potential liability a house as old as this one can conjure up when least expected.  Knowing how good Emory has been to my parents over their lifetimes, I can't think of a buyer more capable of treasuring the rich history of this property, and preserving it for posterity.

In my heart, however, a different story emerges.  One full of sweet memories and good times that have come and gone.  Ones I'm sure to visit again and again as the years roll on.  As I sign all the closing papers, tears threaten to spill over.  I have to steel myself that this is one of those moments when I have to accept that I can't go home again.

What I can do, though, is invite you to take a trip with me down memory lane.  The following photos are not in chronological order, but I do hope they convey the love and happiness this special place created in our lives.

Mom and Dad with baby Virginia



Savannah in the formal living room

Virginia and Alexandra playing in the yard


 
 Brother Bill and son, Daniel at Mom's 90th birthday



Daughter Sarah chatting with her Nana at the birthday party



Niece Rebecca and her husband-to-be, Mills


Mom's nephews by marriage, Bill and Steve


My cousins, Ann and Kay with Mom and Kay's husband, Bill




Cupcakes always taste better in Oxford!  Below, Virginia's first Fourth of July parade.  Her Great-Grandpa was the Grand Marshall.







Danny and my brother, Bill


Very young Nicco and Giovanni celebrating in the pool!


Daughter, Sarah, and husband, John, are enjoying the photos my Dad is sharing.


Always working in tandem . . . I love this photo of Mom and Dad in the kitchen.  Her Thanksgiving meals were legendary.


As painful as it is to part with this historic property, so rife with precious memories, I remember to be thankful for the roof over my own head.  Jesus reminds us in Matthew 8:20 that He had no place on earth to lay His head, because His true home is in heaven.

And, my friends, that's where our forever home is, too.

Amen!

The Lord's Rest

  Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. ~Matthew 11:28 I cannot begin to convey the excitement and an...