Monday, April 30, 2018

Open Door

"Arf! Arf!" I heard as I lay on the sofa for a rest. "Arf! Arf!" repeated every few minutes. I knew it was the family dog, Pebbles, probably demanding a treat from my husband who was having a late lunch in the kitchen.

"Arf! Arf!" The staccato bark was steady, finally responded to by her master, our grandson Adam, coming down from upstairs.

"I don't know what she's barking at," I offered as he opened the front door. Oh, she was outside and the sofa was near the door. No wonder I heard her so clearly! In a few minutes they were back, Adam cradling her and stroking her soothingly.

"She couldn't get in the house," he explained, setting her gently on the floor. What? Couldn't get in? Doesn't she have a doggy door? I thought.

"She couldn't figure out the ramp," Adam said. O-oh, Howard had just had a ramp installed at the back door. "She was going under the ramp," he laughed, as he carefully set the aging dog down. "I had to show her to her doggy door at the top," he said fondly.Well, I guess it's true, you can't teach an old dog new tricks, as the old saying goes.

I was reminded of a song the children used to sing in church. "We're building up the temple... we're building up the temple...we're building up the temple of the's so high you can't get over it, so low you can't get under wide you can't get around it, you must come in at the door."

Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep." (John 10:7). And again in John 10:9, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."

I have heard that the shepherds often built sheep enclosures on the hills, but an opening was left for them to enter. It is said that the shepherd lay across the opening, he himself was the door.

Jesus also said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." I think of an illustration I heard about a guide leading a safari. The group became alarmed when the path was no more discernible. "Where is the path?" they cried out. The guide stated, "I am the path."

May we always find the Door that is open to us!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Heartthoughts:Keep on Keeping on!

"Wait! I want to see the pillows," I said to my hubby as we were walking up the aisle at Walmart. I glanced quickly through the decorative pillows, and then one took my eye. "Oh, look, isn't that pretty?" I exclaimed.

He had walked on by this time, so I took it upon myself to put it in the shopping cart when I caught up with him. Not that I needed any more sofa pillows, but it would complement the decorative motif I have going on. Anyway, it was only eight dollars.

"Hey, that pillow rang up $16!" Howard protested. The cashier stopped and said that was the right price, while I thought it was probably worth it and we had made a mistake. When he had totaled our purchases, he called after us that we could stop at Customer Service and they could verify the price.

I thought we would go on, but my thrifty spouse stopped there. After much waiting and checking, an employee came back with the good news that it was only $7.99! They refunded the over-payment. It pays to be persistent!

We had put out tomato plants and green onions and covered them when a cold snap was predicted. Alas, we lost them to the freeze. But we persisted and have now set out more tomato plants, beans and okra! While doing this, I noticed curious, leafy plants growing in an orderly pattern. Potatoes! We had planted them earlier, and now they were up!

Several incidents in the Bible demonstrate the importance of persistence: The woman with the issue of blood who was healed by pushing through the crowd to touch Jesus, as recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The Canaanite mother who protested to Jesus that even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master's table, Matthew 15:27. And the story of the unjust judge who rendered justice to a persistent widow. Luke 18:2.

Whether pertaining to pillows, plants or people, the moral of the story is "Don't give up!"

Friday, April 27, 2018

Heartthoughts:Do I Know You?

"How is Oscar Mayer?" we heard a voice from somewhere up there! Where did that come from, we puzzled. Then we saw a construction worker standing in an opening high up in a city building under renovation.

"They are growing!" Howard shouted back when we determined where the voice was coming from. Who was this? And how did he know the names of two of our pigs, Oscar and Mayer? We couldn't figure it out, and the man was too far away for us to recognize him. No doubt somebody that Howard had talked to, I concluded as we entered a restaurant for lunch.

We were served tasty bowls of ham and beans, with a wedge of corn bread. All too soon, we could see the bottom of the shallow bowls and let the waitress know they were skimpy. She agreed, and took our empty bowls for a refill. Some time later, a manager-type person brought them, and apologized. He surprised us by saying he wouldn't normally do this, but since we were regulars, he would. Regulars? The popular eatery had opened months ago, but we had only been there a few times! How could he know us?

I was reminded of a time recently when Howard attended a Men's Breakfast at church. A man he didn't know approached him and asked how our grandson, Reid, was doing. My husband had no idea who he was, but answered that he was doing fine. Reid had been thrilled to go on the road with musician friends and a famous gospel artist. Proud Pa Pa Howard had told several about it, but he had never seen this person!

These incidents made me think of the phrase, "You are not invisible." In other words, people notice and hear your words and actions, even if you are not aware of it. It gave me pause to stop and think about how I might appear to others, even strangers. Do I demonstrate Christian behavior, or do I unconsciously frown and look disagreeable while shopping or discussing with my husband in public.

There is a saying that you're the only Bible that someone may ever read. 2 Corinthians 3:2 states, "Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:

(3:3) For as much as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with
the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart."

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven," Matthew 5:16

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Heartthoughts: By Any Other Name....

A funny video on Facebook about choosing a "Grandma" name made me think of an incident several years back. I was at their house one day when my grandchildren had a friend over to play. I saw the little girl as she passed the window, seeing me, then I heard her say, "There's a Go-Go in there!"

I laughed, because I knew her grandmother was called "Go-Go." It seems when one of the grandchildren was young, he tried to say "Grandma," but it came out, "Go-Go." The name stuck through the rest of the grandchildren!

Sadly, I didn't have a close relationship with my paternal grandmother, and I only saw my mother's mom a couple of times that I remember. Actually she was Mama's step-mother who raised her. Mama's biological mother died when my mother was still an infant. Distance was a factor at that time, and southwest Texas was just too far.

It seems most grandmothers today have the joy and pleasure of being near their grandchildren and a part of their lives as they grow up. With the exception of one family living close, all mine live far away. It reminds me of when I was raising my children, and we lived 500 miles from my parents, their beloved grandparents.

There were grandchildren aplenty living close to Mama, though, and she had the opportunity to see that they were in church and learning to serve the Lord. I still hear from those nieces and nephews about the influence she had on their lives, getting them to the altar to be saved and baptized!

I am reminded of the scripture in II Timothy 1:5, when Paul writes to Timothy, "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also."

My daughters now have the fun of choosing a "Grandma" name. I am "Mimi" to my grands, and my oldest daughter has chosen that for her name as well! That promoted me to "Mimi the Great!" My youngest daughter, Amy, expands on her name to be called "M'Amy"!

So what's in a name? A lot of love!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Heartthoughts: New Perspective!

"This house is too small!" I often heard myself lamenting of our over-stuffed house. Then when I'd finished the housework and lay down on the sofa for a rest, a feeling of emptiness frequently swept over me.

"I'm lonely!" I complained to my husband, always perfectly content at his desk and a sheaf of papers to pore over. My loneliness was for my scattered family: little grand kids growing up and now great-grands who hardly knew me!

God must have heard me, for I now live in a spacious farm house with scenic views and a motley collection of animals to distract me. We had lived close between a house on either side, and except for my screened front porch, I had felt little privacy outside.

Then the other day when it seemed spring had finally come and we sat on a swing in the yard, I marveled at the beauty of nature all around us. The sky was a cerulean blue with fluffy white clouds floating like dollops of whipped cream, contrasting with the newly-green grass and leafed-out trees, their branches swaying in the friendly breeze.

Our tiny "herd" of goats dot the hill where they graze with their coats of brown and white, or black and white, like a moving picture. Neighborly horses are silhouetted on the horizon, and pink little pigs root in their pen in the barnyard, lorded over by a proud rooster overseeing the chickens and guineas.

I thought of scriptures in the Bible that say, "He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because he delighted in me," Psalm 18:19, 2 Samuel 22:20.

And I am not lonely now! We have a grandson on the place, with his father often here between work assignments. There is never a dull moment with farm projects the men dream up and work at. Dinner is more than just two people saying, "Please pass the salt," but a lively conversation of shared interests and ideas punctuated with laughter or friendly debate.

With April speeding along, May will be here soon, followed by June, our anniversary month. We are expecting all our kids and as many grands as can come for this momentous occasion, our 60th Anniversary! That is one time I won't mind a crowded house!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Heartthoughts: Job 12:7, "But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air; and they shall tell thee."

Gazing out the window yesterday, I did a double-take! I had been enjoying looking at the pastoral scene down the slope of chickens pecking, roosters crowing, goats grazing and piglets rooting. The young pigs seemed to be unusually active, flying around their pen in a pink streak. If I didn't know better, I would think there were extra pigs in there.

What? My vision must be getting bad, because instead of two pigs in their pen, I saw four! What in the world? I had been home all afternoon, so how did two more pigs appear out of nowhere?

Going out and getting a closer look, I could see the new pigs were smaller, almost like babies! So cute, but where did they come from? When Howard got home, he was surprised, but he recalled that he had originally wanted female pigs, which were to be delivered at a later date. So that was it! A vehicle had obviously come in without my hearing it! Mystery solved!

While pigs are not my favorite animal, I find the young ones cute and entertaining. They are especially comical when their snouts are covered in mud and they stand stiffly looking at you through the fence with their long lashes.

My grandson and I got into a discussion today about animals. "Some people call a chicken an animal," I mused, to which he said, "They are an animal!" We argued back and forth, because I think of an animal as being a cat, dog, horse, or other four-legged beast, and a chicken, a fowl.

Many don't like to eat pork, but the Bible says in Acts 10:11 that God showed Peter a vision of all kinds of beasts, creeping things, and fowls of the air, and told him to kill and eat. Peter protested, "Not so, Lord, for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean."

And the voice spake unto him again the second time, "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common," Acts 10:15. So I believe it is okay to eat pork, which is very tasty!

A few days ago, Howard was telling me that eagles could snatch our baby pigs up and carry them away. That, and the suddenness of the little pigs appearing in our pen made me think of the suddenness of the Lord's coming. Matthew 24:40 tells us, Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (41) Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (42) Watch therefore: For ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Heartthoughts: Higher than I

"Look at the geese, flying to the pond," I exclaimed to my husband as we sat on the yard swing late yesterday afternoon. They looked so awe-inspiring, sailing along on the cooler breeze that had sprung up, then they disappeared beyond the trees.

A little later, I thought I saw them again, until I realized what I was viewing was not geese with flapping wings, but eagles! There were probably a dozen or more of them circling above us, at first small in the sky, but as they swooped closer we could see how large they were! I oohed and aahed over the rare sighting! I knew eagles clustered around a lake several miles away, but I had never seen them this close!

"They must be riding on the air currents," I ventured, while the eagles floated effortlessly above us. It was exciting to see them fly away and re-appear over our heads, ever closer to us.

"Maybe they are eyeing our little pigs!" Howard surmised. "My dad told me when he was a kid some eagles on the Cimarron river stole a neighbor's baby pigs!"

I couldn't believe they might do that, but they were zooming rather close over the pigs' enclosure! And I had a faint recollection of a newspaper article in which a goat was picked up and dropped on someone's adjacent property by an eagle!

The sun was setting, and soon the eagles disappeared. We went inside, but I began to think about eagles being mentioned in the Bible. Solomon ponders in Proverbs 30:18-19, "There are three things which are too wonderful for me. Yes, four which I do not understand: The way of an eagle in the air, The way of a serpent on a rock, The way of a ship in the midst of the sea, and the way of a man with a maid."

In Exodus 19:4, God tells Moses, "You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself."

But possibly my favorite mention of eagles is in Isaiah 40:31, "Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength; They shall mount up on wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint."