Thursday, August 30, 2007
I started out trying to download the video below. It is so cute! Our daughter and her two children and dog (the sheltie) came to visit us this week. I took this video and I wanted to share it but could NOT get it to download! Finally, she did it for me! (THANKS!)
I have so much to say and don't really know where to start. I've been listening to a tape a friend sent me on the Father's blessing. Wow... I realized again how important it is to live in that line of blessing. Whatever we have that is good came from someone back down the line.
In the tape he is talking about a certain king of Israel who was horrible. He did more evil than his father before him. God said that He would remove him from the throne EXCEPT that He remembered his father David! That would have been his great great great grandfather (or somewhere around that). The point being, that David was many times removed and many generations before this king, and God was still holding the promise that He made to King David to always have one of his son's on the throne. Wow... think about it...
What we do does make a difference to those after us. What our parents and grandparents did makes a difference to us and our children.
I want to ask... what are we doing to make life easier and better for our children and grandchildren? What roads are we paving that they won't have to pave? Or are we digging some up that they will have to pave later? Blessings go to a thousand generations. Curses go to four. I'm so thankful that blessings keep on going and going and going!
Can you see something in your life that is a result of your ancestors?
Friday, August 24, 2007
We went in a different direction yesterday. I took pictures of mountains as we drove along. I am still quite amazed at the landscape around me.
Make sure that you click on the picture to enlarge it so you can really see the mountains. They are amazing! Each one is unique and different.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I feel like I have been freed from bondage. Being a naturally shy, quiet person, it has been hard for me to just walk up to someone and begin to talk (much less witness). Years ago ( probably 25) I was greatly intimidated by people, especially people who were bold and walked in what I thought was what I SHOULD be like. They were my heroes. I wanted to be able to do what they did with such ease and passion. At the same time being horrified at the mere thought of doing it.
I had one friend - actually a friend of a friend - who was speaking and I felt like I should have her pray for me to have boldness. But, I was too afraid to ask her, and besides - what IF I did get that bold, what would I do? What would my husband think? It was just more than I could handle.
For years, I have lived under the guilt and condemnation that I was not bold, that I was a spiritual failure, that I had let God down by not being bold.
Just this week, I heard someone teaching on "being bold as a lion". I almost turned the channel because it brought so much pain and reminded me again of how much a failure I have been.
Well, what this person was saying showed me that my interpretation of bold was the wrong one. Bold is not being aggressive, or loud or forceful (not that my friend is any of these, but that's what I thought I had to be). Bold is simply walking in the knowledge of who Jesus is and what He has done for me. It is being who I am. It CAN be aggressive or forceful, but it does not have to be.
Wow... I can do that! I have to tell you that when I realized that I can be me and still be bold, then I relaxed. I don't have to fit into a mold or standard set by me or anyone else. I just have to be what God created me to be. He created me to normally be quiet and soft spoken. That is how He wants me to be. I can be bold and I have been bold in a much different way than my friend. I am bold when I speak with conviction and assurance. I don't back down, but I am not aggressive. I may be forceful, but it is not loud.
God, in His creativity and wisdom, created much diversity. I now know that I need to celebrate my difference and be comfortable with them. I am not going to be held to the same standard of someone who was created to be bold in a different way. I do not have to be like them and they do not have to be like me. We can just relax and be thankful for the way God created us and the plan that He has ... because it is a plan to prosper us and to give us hope.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
It still looked a little sparse, but it was decent. Then, I found a rug and it looked even better!
Plus, a beautiful leather recliner and 2 pillows that just went with both the recliner and a red chair that I already had!
Monday, August 20, 2007
I just wanted to show you more of the landscape. The only way I know to describe it is... flat, flat, flat, flat, MOUNTAIN... flat, flat, flat, flat, MOUNTAIN ... flat, flat, flat, flat, MOUNTAIN!
The plains are just plain and flat... then there are mountains mostly single, but sometimes a couple stuck together. They are all around in every direction you look - but with lots of flat land in between.
Hope this gives you a better idea of what it is like. Sometimes the fields have been too wet to plow, but mostly, the water just soaks right up quickly.
Thanks for caring! I don't think we worry about floods. Some people worry about tornadoes. I'm not worried about any of it. I know that God will take care of us.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
As we were arriving for our 11 o'clock service, we looked coming down the street. There was one of our most faithful members walking to church from his residence at the nursing home. The beautiful thing was, he was bringing a guest. His guest was coming across the highway in his motorized wheelchair! Think about it!
Here is a man who WALKS to church every Sunday. In fact, last Sunday after church, he walked to our home and rang the doorbell (forget that it happened to wake up 2 sleeping grand babies who were visiting). He came and brought his tithe. He said he had gotten back to his room and saw that "the Lord's money" was on his dresser and he wanted to make sure it got to the Lord that day! Talk about faithfulness!
Okay, so, not only does he WALK, he invited a guest, who came in a wheelchair! He became an evangelist. He reached out to the world where he lives and proclaimed Jesus and brought someone with him. This person came in his wheelchair!
Now, granted, it is maybe only 3 or 4 blocks, but we complain if we have to walk across the street! We don't like to be inconvenienced in any way. Last week when he walked twice, it was 100 degrees. Today, it was wet - we had about 5 inches of rain last night. What sacrifice and what commitment!
Then, this afternoon as we were relaxing and enjoying some time "off", we got a call. We were invited to go for a ride out into the country/mountains. She had had a special rack made for a book they were going to mount in the church. She said, she wanted us to meet these people. Well, honestly, we did NOT want to go. We were content to just continue with what we were doing. These people threw in some "bait". They said if we would come they would feed us pizza.
We could not gracefully figure out a way to not go. The lady who invited us has been so good to us in so many ways and helped us over and over and over. So, we (I hate to say grudgingly) agreed to go.
We were not sure WHERE we were going. We got in her car and rode north about 9 or 10 miles. Then we took "the cut" through the mountains (I was so sorry that I did not take my camera! I just had no idea!) and went another maybe 10 miles and turned right and went a little farther.
She just knew where she was going... we went by the home of a 4 star general... the views from where we were are breathtaking! As far as you can see... flat, flat, flat, flat, MOUNTAIN, flat flat flat flat MOUNTAIN... in every direction!
We pulled into the driveway of a very modest home. There were also 2 cobblestone buildings that were in perfect condition. They had been there for over 80 years! That in itself was amazing. But, what was inside was awe inspiring!
When we got out of the car, a sweet lady greeted us and gave us warm hugs like we had always been her friends. Then a very kind gentleman came out of one of the buildings and he was holding a cedar cross that he said he had "just found" and presented it to us. He said it needed to be be finished. When he placed it in my hand I could hardly believe the beauty of it. It was the softest, smoothest piece of wood I have ever felt. Plus, it SMELLS sooooo good!
Then he was going to show us around his place. He had always lived there. He had helped his granddaddy plant red cedar trees on the property. He had story after story about everything around there. We were ushered into his workshop (one of the cobblestone buildings) where he designs and makes beautiful furniture and cedar chests and chairs and tables and all sorts of things - anything you describe for him that you want, we can build.
Then I noticed something... he had a cane, he had a cable from one building to the next that he reached for... even though he had reached for my hand and looked at me and talked with me, I had not noticed something important ... he is BLIND!
Yep...an artist, a woodworker... he uses saws and power tools, hammers... he has been blind for 20 years! You should SEE the work he does! What a gift, what a treasure, what a blessing!
The most amazing thing is his attitude. He is the most positive man! He is full of joy and love and laughter! He blessed us! He gave us the rack he made for us. He gave us the cross he had made. He gave us the tour and he gave us his time, and love, he shared his life with us.
Today my life has been changed by 3 people. The world would call them handicapped... one mentally, one in a wheelchair, and one blind. The world would have discounted them as useless and a burden. These people did not quit living. They did not become bitter and resentful and let the world take care of them. They are productive, caring, loving people.
Handicapped?I don't think so!!! They give back to the world. They are overcomers, they are powerful and each one has a witness and a love for Jesus that puts the rest of us to shame.
They put me to shame with their faithfulness and their dedication and their willingness to share what they have, whether it is big or little. With their commitment to Jesus and spreading His love. I see them as heroes of the faith!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
What will this day be like... I WONDER.... what will the future bring... I WONDER!!! ..... Then Maria begins to dance around, splash in a fountain and swing her guitar and sing herself happy.
There are so many possibilities! The future is wide open!
When we first came to visit here, while some great guys were unloading our truck, I stood at the door and looked across the street. What I saw was dismal! I began to question God. I began to doubt the wisdom in our decision to move here and became full of despair and fear at what our future held. I began to "wonder" and question. Unlike Maria, I didn't sing myself happy. I sank into the pit of doubt and despondency.
It was raining and this is all I saw...
This is what I could see from my living room window, from my front door, from my kitchen windows... It just looked like something abandoned... something no one cared about.... something either half blown down, or half built...
I felt like this was a picture of our future... I could not help but "wonder"... what will the future bring... lack, half done things, devastation???
I determined in my heart not to look in that direction! I began to tell myself GOOD things and to encourage myself in the LORD. You know, things like, "remember when it seemed nothing was happening and God was working?" or, "remember how sad you were to move away from ___ but God moved you to a better place?" I just kept MAKING myself say and think good things.
After we moved in, we found out about that building. It was not an abandoned half destroyed place - it was a place with a future. It is a dream in progress. It is a project by a local business man to give a place for the youth to gather and learn and enjoy and grow. It is to be a safe haven, a promise for a better life. This man has a dream for the future and what I saw as devastation, is in reality PROMISE!
If we are not careful, we can look at life and people like that. We see the negative and judge according to what WE think, see or feel. The reality is that life is much different, bigger and better than we could ever think or ask.
God's plans are to prosper us and to give us a hope and a future to bring us to an expected end. He wants to direct our paths and lead us in the Way everlasting. When He is through with us, we will not recognize ourselves.
I wonder ... what ELSE am I seeing the wrong way? I think that I will look at things in a new light with an eye toward possibilities and future and not death and destruction.
Well, we don't believe in "luck" and so I taught the kids to sing "I'm just a 'puppy' dog, I'm just a 'puppy' dog". Later, they laughed about it...
Anyway, I've always loved puppies and kittens... living in a parsonage, we were not allowed to have pets inside. That was always something we wanted. Then, a few years ago, "they" changed the rules and we were able to have a pet in the house. Oh happy day!
It took me 31 years to have my OWN puppy. But, my husband really came through for me and gave me a Yorkie! Our little Andy (named for our favorite TV person, Andy Griffith) has blessed us and brought us much pleasure. We also have a cat named Barney - who does not get to come inside anymore. But, Andy and Barney are great friends.
Well, this past weekend our daughter came to visit. She has been looking for a new puppy. She is a real pet lover and since she moved, she had to leave her dog and not take him on the new adventure.
We heard of a lady who was giving away puppies. Of course, when we got there, the one she was giving away was as wild as a Tasmanian devil! Then, she brought out some other puppies... precious little things - but there was ONE... oh my goodness. He was beautiful and so sweet! A miniature Sheltie... Shelties are like miniature collies, but this one is especially tiny! He is smaller than our Yorkie!
So, we were able to work it all out and they got him on Sunday.He brought back so many memories for me. I remembered back when I was 18 and living with my best friend. We had a habit of going through pet stores. One day, I fell in love! There was a beautiful little Sheltie. She was so tiny and sweet. I just HAD to have her! I just "happened" to have one of my daddy's credit cards. (I was in college and he was still paying for my gas) So, I just whipped out that card and bought her. Then I called and said, "You don't have to worry about getting me a birthday present this year. I've already gotten it!" I don't think they were planning to spend quite that much on me, but they were gracious and kind and loving as always and let me keep her. She looked just like a little fox, so I named her "Foxie Lady". She was my dog for almost 5 years!
Then, when I got married, my husband was allergic to dogs and cats (I had 3) and so I gave them up for him. I thought I made a great and wonderful trade and was very happy about it. I would do it again and again!
Now, we have another little Sheltie in the family. Puppy days are here again and we are BLESSED (not lucky)!
Monday, August 13, 2007
At least, that's how I remember summer when I was growing up. We didn't have a/c. We had an attic fan. I loved the cool night breezes coming in through open windows and waking up to birds singing and crickets chirping. Don't get me wrong, in the middle of the day it was time to roast! (In the south, ladies did not sweat - we "glistened") It was not cool in the shade and the humidity was always high - which made it feel like steam heat. The attic fan did not help by bringing in more heat!Here it has been in the 80's most of the summer. We have had rain almost every day. The grass has been green and the flowers lush.
Everyone told us not to get used to it. But, I did. We used our attic fan a good bit at night and even a few days.
During all that nice weather, my husband planned a church softball game with ice cream social afterwards. Even for 5 weeks of "advertising" it, it was nice and cool (relatively speaking). He LOVES sports and is good even at his age - which I won't mention is 61. I have not ever been a sports fan, much to his disappointment...(but HE is not a garage sale fan much to my disappointment!)
Then ... the weather decided to change. This week for the first time this summer we have been in the 100's!
That did not put a damper on the game though. We had a huge crowd show up in 104 degree weather! Enough to have 4 teams and the bleachers full! ... Never was heard a discouraging word and the skys were not cloudy all day! (seemed to fit here - and you can continue to sing..."home, home on the range...")
My "hugs'um" (as the kids called him when they were little) even caught a fly ball for an out and made some runs (that's him in the green shirt at bat) (or I think he did - my part in supporting the game was to find out as much from people as I could by carrying on conversations with whomever was close by - my sole purpose in going to games by the way is fellowship)
Everyone seems to be more comfortable now that "things" are the way they are supposed to be. Funny how we are such creatures of habit and we like things to fit our expectations.
Guess I'm the same way. I just believed that God gave me a nice easy summer for our first time. We fell in love with it here. We felt at home immediately! Of course, it was much more than the weather... and in spite of the VERY different landscape. It is just that we KNOW we are where we are supposed to be for this season of our lives. It feels good to be "home".
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Transition means CHANGE!
That lead me to think about change... we are changing! Whether we mean to or not, we are changing.
Even dead things change! Think about it, once the body dies, it begins to decay and in a short amount of time, it no longer resembles what it was when it was alive.
All living things are changing. We may appear to be the same on the outside (for awhile) but our cells are constantly changing. Did you know that you replace all your cells once a year? So that next year at this time , you will have a "new" body. It may look the same, but it is different.
I realize that we can just allow change to change us or we can make a concerted effort and make the change ourselves.
Like, I can continue to change and gain weight (maybe even stay the same weight) - OR I can decide and make the effort and lose weight and get into shape.
I can continue down destructive paths emotionally and spiritually - OR I can decide and work toward becoming more Christ-like.
Change can be threatening and scary or it can be exciting and rewarding. It depends on how we face it and if WE decide to take the initiative and be a catalyst for change.
What season are you in? What changes have you noticed in your life? Are you happy about the changes in you since this time last year? Where do you want to be this time next year? What changes are you going to make to get you there?
We are encouraged to forget those things that are behind and to press toward the prize ... the prize is our goal. We have been created for a purpose. God has a plan for us. Are we living in that plan?
My thought has always been, that IF we are still on this earth (and if you are reading this then you are on the earth) then there is a reason and a purpose and God still wants to use us. No matter how old we might be or how we might feel "used up"... there is still something God has for us.
So, no matter what season we are in, we are moving to the next season. Change is eminent, but change is good - it means progress if WE determine the changes - if we don't take charge, then the changes will probably mean going down hill, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
What changes are you going to make in your changing??
The good thing is... you CAN change!
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Friday, August 3, 2007
Anyway, awhile back a friend of mine brought that phrase to my attention. She said that it jumped out at her during communion one day. When she said it, I laughed inside as I pictured an oxymoron... how can you possibly be JOYFUL when you have to obey?
I began to meditate on it. I remembered that I had taught my children, "you are HAPPY when you obey". They didn't appreciate that phrase much either. But, I believed it to be true. So, why did I not think that I could be "freed for joyful obedience"?
I think it is because I pictured God up in heaven thinking of things to make my life miserable. Like, GIVE... that goes completely against the grain! Or, what if He asked me to go to Africa or worse yet, some cold place like Russia or Antarctica! The Bible plainly tells us that we are to walk after the Spirit and not walk after the flesh (what WE want - and that usually is something not good for us). I thought that must mean that if it is something that I WANT, then it has to be the opposite of what God wants.
That is just stupid thinking! It is thinking like the world. It is thinking based on only half truths and lack of knowledge.
Every good Bible student knows that God is a good God. It gives Him pleasure to bless us and he wishes above all things that we would "prosper and be in health, even as our soul prospers".
When we obey, then He can bless us. It is that simple. We do that with our own children, why do we think God is any different? Well, actually He is VERY different and so much more loving - but the principle is the same.
The point is, God's laws, decrees, directions, requests will ALWAYS have a reason and it is ALWAYS for our good. That means that if we do what He says, we will be blessed. It means that I can figuratively "eat my vegetables and I will get my dessert"!
If I don't do what I'm supposed to do, then I don't get the blessing.
So, when I look at it that way, I can "joyfully" obey because I know the reward is coming.
The Bible says that Jesus obeyed and went to the cross for us because of the JOY that was set before Him.
I just wonder, what would happen if we joyfully did what we were asked. I'm sure that it would open doors for us in our world of work, family, friends - whatever we are involved in.
Lord, Thank you that we can be freed for "joyful obedience"!
Thursday, August 2, 2007
we are not so far from home...
But, my Mama always taught me that "home" is where you make it and we have made this our home.