Saturday, December 19, 2015

'Tis the Season!

Christmas is but a few days away!  It has suddenly crept up upon me, and now the last minute details that must be attended to are rushing in!  Shopping and  mailing have finally been accomplished, and now I am baking cookies. Packing and planning for our trip is now on the agenda!

Last Sunday after prayer time at church, a prophetic lady approached me and said she saw my hands  like a bowl spilling over! I wasn't sure what that meant, but the next day my hands were unusually busy. The first blog I had written in months poured out of my new laptop (my kids surprised me with an early Christmas present). Browning sausage and chopping peppers, I made breakfast burritos, helped hubby with his ministry video, put on a  pot of beans, baked a chocolate sheet cake, flew through housework and organized my jewelry box!

After weeks of  feeling under the weather and seeing a doctor for a pulled muscle,  the steroid shot I received may have been partly responsible for my surge of energy and sense of well-being, but I give God the glory anyway!  I can't wait to see what else is in store for me!

I was so excited about the Christmas package I sent to our youngest set of grandchildren, with instructions to open them on arrival as I watched on FaceTime.  Two-year-old Isaac knew exactly what to do as he claimed his box and said, "Mine!" He pulled out the little drum set with small instruments inside and began immediately to strum on the miniscule guitar!

I went off the grid a bit with gifts for my granddaughters, 6 and 9.  Since they never get snow in Houston, when I saw a toy snow-ball launcher, I thought they would get a kick out of it and purchased one for each of them.  Imagine my disappointment when they tried the plastic shooters and the Styrofoam balls dropped limply to the floor! Thankfully their father told me yesterday that he had figured out how to work them and they gave a satisfying pop when they were pumped into action!

Resisting last-minute bargains is hard.  I had largely stayed out of the stores, but on a foray yesterday, eye-popping temptations were everywhere! A surprising snow and frigid temperatures the day before found us out in it reveling in the mist of flurries that swirled around us as we completed our errands.

There is so much in this season to enjoy! I love saying "Merry Christmas" to store employees, though some are not allowed to say it back.  Jesus was probably not born in the winter, but long tradition has had us remembering His birth at this time. I am thankful for the bright spot of Christmas in our present darkened world.  A time to reach out to others, whether friend, family, or those for whom those silver bells are ringing on every corner.  May our hands continue to spill over!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Christmas Lights

We drove around and looked at Christmas lights last night.  Just the ones locally, not going out to the lake to see "The Festival of Angels" display that we've seen many times before.  We have a beautiful display closer to home in nearby Cann Gardens.  Lighting the dark, early winter evening and starkly contrasting against the black sky were vignettes of poinsettias, nursery rhyme characters, angels with clouds floating above them, and adobe-style structures. Not to mention the beautiful manger scene and a lovely, lighted church in its electronic beauty.

Our drive took us into neighborhoods with homes cheerily lit up with outlined architectural details, one looking like a gingerbread house with scalloped roof line and windows.  This was so fun!  We ended our tour in the parking lot of a church that had synchronized music and lights dancing up and down Christmas-tree shapes in neon waves of color. Then the colors on the church would change from psychedelic purples, greens, orange or red, illuminating it like a Spanish mission.

This seemed like a culmination of a wonderful Sunday that had begun very early with my making a casserole to cook in the oven on low until we could enjoy it when our son joined us for lunch.  We had been delighted at church to see the children's Christmas presentation, a tableau of tiny shepherds, wise men, and a blue-clad cherub placing a swaddled doll in a manger. The distractible shepherds found the hooked shepherd's rods useful for waving, interlocking and aiming at others, providing stifled laughter and open-mouthed concern in the audience.

I knew my own grandchildren in Houston were to be in their presentation today.  I recalled  9-year-old Anne-Marie's words to me at Thanksgiving:  "Mimi, I have three parts in our play," she announced. "I'm Elizabeth, Mary, and an angel!" When I registered astonishment, she explained, "Well,  I'm really supposed to be only Elizabeth.  She only has one line, 'His name is John!'"

Then my precise, articulate granddaughter went on, "See, Isaac (her two-year-old brother) is Baby Jesus, and I'm the only one that can control him, so I'm Mary for that one scene. And I have to substitute for an angel for just one scene while she does something else." Anyway, I would love to have seen the play, and I scanned the internet for pictures.  All that had been posted last night was one of group singing in which I spotted Maddie, 6, identifiable in the crowd by her bobbing red pony-tail.

I had learned on Facebook earlier in the day the sad news of the passing of a great-niece. She had been cured of brain cancer as a child of 5, but it had returned with a vengeance over 20 years later.   After weeks of aggressive treatment she lost her battle; but as her mother shared, "She got her wings today." Brooke was a light to all who knew her.

The first Christmas light was the star  that led the wise men to Jesus.  It was His light that guided her home.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Wake Up!

One of the points in our Women's Bible Study last night was, The fully awake respond. It was part of a lesson by Lisa Bevere, Awaken the Lioness in You, a call to Christian women to become actively engaged in reaching the lost.

Our facilitator related that on her trip to Canada from which she had just returned, she met someone in distress and surprised herself by giving exactly the right words that ministered to the person. Our leader said she was glad that she was awake to what God wanted her to say.

One woman shared that, although she had been a sympathetic ear to a friend going through long-standing problems, sometimes she knew she wasn't really listening or empathizing, and the friend did not seem to be coming out of her difficulties.  Then one day at a meeting something was said that caught her attention, awakening her and galvanizing her to action.  She spoke words to her friend who suddenly seemed herself to awaken and comprehend, tears streaming down her face in the realization of God's love.  It was a turning point for her.

Yesterday my husband and I were in a store and when checking out at the counter, the clerk asked us if we wanted to donate school supplies for children of military personnel. My husband is usually the conversationalist with checkers, and I normally look on in amusement.  He mentioned that since we had already paid, we would do that next time we were in.

"Our church is having a Back-to-School Bash this Sunday with backpacks and school supplies to be given away," I heard myself saying.

The cashier looked up with interest. "Really?" she exclaimed in surprise.  "Where is the church?" We told her, and she immediately grabbed paper and pen and wrote down the directions.  "That is so wonderful!  I have kids and I need all the help I can get!" As I noticed her more closely, I was aware of the lines crossing her care-worn face and realized she was probably working at this low-paying job to make ends meet.
I had only made the remark casually, having no idea of her response.  Whether the Lord put the words in my mouth or heart, I'm not sure, but I was awakened to say something!  Apparently, she had never heard of our church, so maybe this will be a connection for her to know that there are people out there who care.  It may be an opportunity for the church to awaken her to the love of Jesus, showing that we are awake and respond!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Impulse Buy

I was in love!  Browsing the antique store, I spotted a dresser.  An old-fashioned one with a padded bench in front of the lovely mirror.  Just what I had been wanting!  I could imagine the piece re-done in the new/old style with chalk/milk paint!  Wait! What's this?  A bed!  A charming headboard with curlicues carved into it, gingerbread style!  Then I spotted the matching chest of drawers and a night stand!  All in great condition.  The associate said they were from the 40s!

Where was my husband? I finally located him at the back of the store poring over old musical instruments.  "Look!  Isn't this amazing?" I asked when I pointed out the bedroom set.  To his question of "How much?" I showed him the ticket with the original price slashed to half off!  He walked away disinterestedly.  Well, I knew even at half off, it would be a stretch, so I didn't press the issue.

But I couldn't stop thinking about it!  The bedroom of my dreams!  Then when I got home and realized how much furniture I would have to move and rearrange to make room for it, I was a little uncertain. I've always subscribed to the theory, "If you love it, you'll find a place for it!"  Still, I kept calculating in my head how we could afford it.  Finally, before I went to sleep, I prayed a prayer that God would make a way to get the set, or that He would give me a sign it wasn't for me.

Yesterday, I accompanied my husband to town so he could get a watch-band adjusted.  When he came out of the jewelry store, I  realized that the antique store was just down the block.  "Let's go in and look at that bedroom furniture," I ventured.  "I want to take pictures of it."  My idea was to show them to my daughter to get her opinion.

We walked in, and I had my iPhone at the ready.  "Was it in this section?" I asked Howard.  Then I stepped down to the display where it was.  This is funny, I thought. Everything had changed.  In the headboard's place was a scrolled, metal headboard.  And there was no dresser, or anything else!  Just an odd assortment of antiques.  The same bright quilt covered the present bed, but my heart sank at the thought that it was gone.

"Did that white bedroom set sell?" I asked a clerk, to which she answered, "Yes, it sold!  It's been moved to the back."  I walked out of the store numbly.  My dream was up in smoke.  But I felt a nudge of conscience when I thought about my prayer.  God had answered it!  I didn't expect it to be this way, but in my spirit I felt the confirmation that that was indeed the answer.

Perhaps God has something better for me in mind, or perhaps he sees something in the future precluding the purchase.  Whatever it is, I know I have a prayer-answering God!  Sometimes his answer is Yes, sometimes it is No, and sometimes it is Wait.  I will wait and see.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Get-Away

It seems everyone is having wonderful vacations this year!  Our son Trevor's family has just returned from a cruise. Much more than a stay aboard ship with marvelous food and entertainment, their vacation included adventures such as zip-lining over a Honduran jungle, cave-tubing in Belize and splashing in the refreshing waters of Little French Key.

Son Mark and grandson Grant enjoyed the hospitality of a friend's invitation to New York, a first-time visit for both.  They shared Facebook pictures from a boat with the two of them posed on either side of the Statue of Liberty in the background.  I loved the shots of them biking in Central Park.  They even saw a Broadway play, not to mention the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Times Square and Grand Central Station.

Grandson Reid went along with friends to Disney World, saying it was the best trip there he had ever had.  I can't keep up with his sisters' activities, as it seems they are constantly rafting, tubing, floating, concert-ing or going to a beach somewhere.  (All this worked in despite summer life-guard jobs and hanging with friends.)

We kept busy and on the roads, too, celebrating the graduation of one grandson and the wedding of another. These gala events contrasted sharply with the sorrowful good-byes to my brother and our eldest grandson at their services this summer.  Even those occasions were not devoid of sweetness, though, at the pleasure of being with loved ones who live far away.

Vacations are important, and can be a time of refreshing and of gaining new perspectives.  Jesus recognized the need for rest and getting away from people when he advised  his disciples as recorded   in Mark's gospel. "And he said to them, 'Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.' For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a desert place..." Mark 6:31-32.

This was shortly after John the Baptist had been beheaded.  No doubts their hearts were sorrowful at this great loss.  People need time and space to grieve when someone dies.  My daughter and her husband felt the need to get away after their son's death.  They took solace in the beautiful Tennessee mountains near the ancestral home of Julie's grandmother, my mom.

Life goes on after vacations and times of rest, and/or sorrow.  In our family, life is rushing in, swirling with happy events. Julie's preemie baby grandson, our great-grandson, has gained over two pounds and has been released from the hospital.  Our now-oldest grandson and his fiance' have announced their engagement to be married next year.

There is a beautiful passage in Song of Solomon, reminiscent of our call to our heavenly home. "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, The time of singing has come, And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land....Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away!" Song 2:10-12, 13. 

Verse 9 says he is looking through the windows, gazing through the lattice!  It can't be long before  see Him and our loved ones in heaven, the sights making any earthly vacation pale in comparison!

"But as it is written, 'Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.'"

Friday, July 31, 2015

Brave as a Lion

At our Senior Ladies' breakfast the other morning, someone asked me my name.  I told her, and the person next to me jokingly said, "That's been your name all day, hasn't it?" to which I replied, "Yes, and every day for 76 years!"

"Why, she's just a baby!" exclaimed the one who had asked my name.  How sweet!  I guess the way to feel young is to hang out with older people!  It made me think of the scenario in the Bible during the future time of the Millennium which says, "There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old," Isaiah 65:20.

Of that time, scripture says in Isaiah 11:6, "The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a  little child shall lead them."

I was saddened to hear about the baby giraffe in the Dallas zoo that died an accidental death this week. I read that its birth had even been featured on Animal Planet.  I suppose that since a giraffe's birth in captivity is extremely rare, it captured the attention of many people, who were also affected by the loss. But I was surprised to find that so many are donating and expressing extreme sorrow over this unfortunate event.

Even more surprising is the public outcry of rage about Cecil the lion being killed by a safari hunter. Don't get me wrong. I love and admire animals.  They are God's creation and can teach us much if we observe and care for them.  I just wonder why people are not expressing more outrage over the recently discovered abortion atrocities!

Our women's group has been viewing videos as part of a study by Lisa Bevere called Lioness Arising. She was inspired by the scripture that says, "Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion (lioness in some versions), and lift up himself as a young lion: he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain," Numbers 23:21. This was revealed to her in a dream in which she saw a magnificent lioness and was taken by her strength and beauty. She points out that Jesus is called The Lion of Judah!

In her teachings, Lisa applies the qualities of tenderness and strength in the lioness in encouraging women who are not aware of their potential in the kingdom of God for defeating the adversary. God has opened opportunities for this formerly stay-at-home mom to work in rescuing trafficking victims and their little ones.  Her theme is "Awake and Change Your World."  May we accept the challenge to find our place of service!  We need not be babies, even at 76!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Finding Grandma!

"Mom, what was Grandma's real mother's name?" came the query over the internet from my daughter Julie, who lives in Tennessee.  It is family history that my mom's mother died when Mama was only 6 weeks old.  Her mother was a young wife of 18 when she was found unresponsive by her best friend while my infant future mother lay bundled on the bed.

All this happened in east Tennessee, just an hour from our daughter's present home.  A drive through the area she had heard of all her life prompted her questions. I gave her my grandmother's name, although I had to reflect a bit to recall it.  Mama was raised by her stepmother, never knowing any other mother, and this lady was Grandma to us, although we saw her very infrequently, due to distance.

After this, came the question, "Where was she buried?"  I only knew it must have been near the area in Tennessee where my mother lived until she was 12 years old, when her family relocated to west Texas. I remembered that many years ago Mama and some of her siblings drove the 1,000+ mile journey back to visit the family cemetery.  I   gave her the info I had, then a post from my brother detailed exactly where the grave site was: the name of the cemetery, the road it is on, and the county in Tennessee.

All efforts to follow through with this data led to a dead end. (No pun intended!) It seems many years ago work by the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) inundated many cemeteries, and some of the graves had to be relocated.  A list of over 1,000 names and their locations were pored over by Julie and myself. Many names familiar to me from my mother's reminiscences appeared, but not the one we were seeking.  Then followed a list of graves which were not moved.  We struck out there, too.

Unless we find out more from other descendants living in Texas, this mystery will apparently remain unsolved.  The sad, romantic saga remains a source of fascination to younger relatives.  My young, biological grandmother was said to be having fainting spells following the birth of my mother.  Friends were taking turns staying with her, which is why her best friend, my future stepmother, had come over.

Some say the new mother had been popping popcorn over the fire in the fireplace.  The thinking was that she fainted, for she was lying in the fireplace when found.  Other stories have sprung up about her beauty, her place of privilege in her family, and the hand sewn, monogrammed clothing she wore. Though her picture has been lost, I remember a portrait of an ordinary-looking girl with resemblances to our family.

The new baby was put into the charge of her grandparents, Grandpa's parents.  This is part of the intrigue of the story.  After three years, when Grandpa married his late wife's best friend, he wanted his daughter back.  The red-haired tot had become endeared to her grandparents, and they refused to give her up.  With a sweet, titian-haired granddaughter of my own, I can imagine their feelings.  She had become their world. Nevertheless, after a court battle, she went home with her father, whom she adored all her life.

We may never find Grandma, but we can rest assured Mama has found her mother.  David says after the death of his baby son, "I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me," 2 Samuel 12:23. What a wonderful meeting all believers will have in Heaven someday!  Mama lived her old-time religion, a joyous saint for all of us who follow after!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Family Photos

I love it when I click on Facebook and there is a smiling picture of a family member!  Today it was my six-year-old granddaughter dressed up to go to work with her mom, plus a video of our youngest grandson chuckling in glee while his father pretended to sip from the straw in his son's cup.  Hearing Isaac's warm, distinctive laugh made me laugh with glee myself!

Lately there have been shots of our older teen grands racing in the sand in lifeguard competition, paddling atop a surfboard, and walking through tree-tops on cable bridges.  Then there are the ones of grown-up grands: lawn chairs set up and blankets spread for drive-in movie-watching with their own little ones, my great-grands, nibbling on pizza!

A gorgeous engagement photo announcement with our oldest grandson and his fiancee' brought smiles. So did the romantic photo of the recent new bride and groom, grandson Zach whispering into Kelcie's ear in the idyllic setting of their outdoor wedding.

A picture of my son's feet and legs as he stretched out on a deck chair with the serene waters of the Gulf of Mexico beyond the railing, and his travel guitar on his lap told me he and his family were aboard their cruise ship.  I'm waiting for more travel shots as they reach their first excursion site.

Although these family members are far away, I still enjoy their good times vicariously and share their joy as captured by the camera.  Sometimes I wish there were a camera in heaven to see our loved ones there and all the good things they are seeing and experiencing.  I know it is a place of indescribable beauty that no scenic spot on earth can rival.

As beautiful as the waters of the Gulf of Mexico are, the beauty of the waters of the river of life will exceed them.  The lush foliage of the tall tree-tops explored by our 16-year-old granddaughter will pale in comparison with the tree of life and other verdant vegetation there.

There will be no need for lifeguards there, no need to practice CPR,  for Jesus will be the air we breathe, and the breath of life He gives when we accept Him is eternal.  And the music there will be sweeter even than the melodious notes emitting from Trevor's travel guitar.  No shipping necessary, the heavenly harps and celestial music of angels will be there waiting for us.

The sweet fellowship of families eating pizza together on a blanket as they watch a fantasy on the silver screen in the twilight will be out-shined by God's children dining with Jesus at the Marriage supper of the Lamb. There will be no straws in paper cups, but our Father will sup with us in royal goblets.

And we know that earthly brides and grooms are only a picture of Christ and His bride--the church! "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church," Ephesians 5:31-32.

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it," Ephesians 5:25.

Not a vision, not a picture, but the reality of heaven feels just around the corner!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

God is in the Details!

We had met our son at the restaurant on his invitation to supper.  First thing I saw when I opened the menu was a luscious-looking slice of lemon meringue pie.  "Oh, look at that pie!" I exclaimed.

After a great meal, Greg told the waitress he wanted pie and to slice it in three pieces!  He ordered lemon meringue, and the tiny smidgens we got were delicious--tall meringue sweetly topping the tart, gelled, yellow filling. Then Greg had to leave prematurely for something he had to pick up.

"I would like some more pie," I said in a conspiratorial whisper to my husband.  Howard agreed and glanced around for the waitress.  I saw the manager standing idly at the counter and suggested he ask him.  He brought a generous half-slice on a separate dish for both of us.  My coffee-loving spouse said coffee would taste good, and I reminded him it was like $2.50.  He spoke to the manager again, asking for one cup of coffee.

A steaming mug was set on the table, along with the pot for extras.  When we went to pay for the pie and coffee, the man wouldn't take any money, only saying, "No charge"!  How sweet for him to bless us this way!

I awoke pre-dawn this morning, and the LCD light on the front of our air-conditioner kept me from getting back to sleep. Tossing and turning, I tried to ignore it, thinking, If I just had something to put over that light.  It would have to be small, maybe something to slip into the space over the temperature gauge.  I put out my hand to the bedside table and felt something small.  Clicking on the light, I saw it was a cardboard packet holding new shoe laces.  I had never seen it before. It fit exactly!  Thank you, Lord!

My husband and I have discovered some fascinating videos of Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, author of The Harbinger, on YouTube. We have been viewing them almost every evening, and learning so much from this incredibly wise man of God!  His new book, The Mystery of the Shemitah, is described by publishers as The 3,000-Year-Old Mystery That Holds the Secret of America's Future, the World's Future, and Your Future!

I didn't realize that the Roman Coliseum was built from the funds from the sacking of God's temple in 70 AD!  Rabbi Cahn also explains the true meaning and history of Hanukkah!  It is not just a Jewish Christmas! We also watched his moving address to Congress and leaders on Capitol Hill.  They applauded his sermon glorifying Jesus!

I had watched some of these segments on my computer, but our old TV was not equipped for YouTube. Thanks to our generous son who surprised us with a new set, we can now view them on a bigger screen! Another one of God's blessings!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Grandmother of the Groom

I had seen the dress several months ago.  It was springtime then, with fresh, summery fashions being featured in stores.  When I saw the long, flowered dress with a filmy blouse-style jacket tied above the waist, I imagined myself in it at our grandson's garden wedding. In the dressing room, I loved the shape of it, but I realized it was a little snug, and I didn't see one in the next size.  Reluctantly, I placed it back on the hanger.

A week or so before the wedding in June, I was again in my favorite store.  I gasped when I saw it! The dress!  This time it was reduced considerably, and in the right size! I wasted no time in trying it on. Hm. The jacket fit perfectly, but the skirt was too loose.  After much inward deliberation, I got it anyway.

I tried the dress on at home with different shoes. Then I remembered a dress I had bought but didn't wear to another grandson's wedding a couple of years ago. It was never worn, with the tags still on it. Putting it on, I liked it better than I remembered. That's the one I wore to the wedding.  It was the right choice, being cooler with the fluttery sleeves and flowing, handkerchief hem, just right for the lovely, outdoor wedding.

I admired the bride's creativity and taste when we walked through a pair of antique doors resurrected from Old New Orleans and built into a framework by her friends. Rustic containers of tiny, blue flowers with sprigs of baby's breath were fastened at the end of each row of church benches bordering the grassy aisle we walked down.

A vision of blush pastel were the lovely bridesmaids waiting with their bouquets on one side of the flower-bedecked pole structure behind the minister, complemented by the soft-grey of the tuxedos worn by handsome groomsmen on the other side--all against a backdrop of tall, waving grass in the field behind them.

Other than the wedding pair, stunning in their wedding clothes, sweetest of all were the little children dressed in white and tumbling out of or pulling a wagon, flower petals from a basket falling beside them.  Their golden curls and tamed shocks of hair above rosy cheeks made them seem right out of a Botticelli painting.

We are back home now, and today I returned the dress.  On the way there, I received the news that another grandson just got engaged!  Maybe I should have kept the dress!  Now I have another wedding to look forward to and a dress to select!

I may be uncertain about wedding clothes here on earth, but the most important one is on layaway in Heaven, when I attend the Marriage supper of the Lamb!  I will be sure to have my wedding garment on! Matthew 22:11; Revelation 3:5. 

"Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage supper of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her it was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints," Revelation 19:7-8. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Turning Scars into Stars

I have a lot of scars for a girl. Well, I was a girl when I got them. This morning I noticed the shiny, white mark on my shin from a teeter-totter accident in first grade.  Our country school didn't have great playground equipment, and  where the T-shaped handle on my end of the see-saw had once been, there was a very large nail sticking up.  When my playmate bumped her end of the board, my leg hit the head of the nail.  The scar used to be in the middle of my shin, but it's up closer to my knee now. (Oddly, the scar I carry on my upper leg from a scrape on metal has now drifted down toward the knee!)

Then there are the scars on my feet from running barefoot and stepping on broken glass or a nail as I tried to keep up with my brothers.  The heel of my right hand bears proof of breaking my fall as I ran and skidded on the gravelly ground.  Working upward, a small scar on my neck, barely there now, reminds me of playing hide-and seek in the dark as a bigger kid and running into the clothesline!

I remember Mama dispatching an older sibling to run to a neighbor to borrow tape when I split my chin falling on the step at age 4.  The scar in my eyebrow hardly shows from some cut or fall at sometime in my childhood.  I had always disliked my full lower lip, which Mama said was from my falling and cutting it, but I think it is mostly natural, and I don't mind it now that fuller lips are in fashion!

A mashed finger from when the horse ran over me at age 5 is not really a scar anymore, but the nail was never quite the same.  Although I had a serious concussion, there were no scars that I know of.  Not even any trauma from the event, since I was knocked unconscious.  After a 3-day hospital stay I was allowed to go home and resume my reckless childhood!

Thankfully, my adult life has been mostly calm and serene, if you can call raising six kids and their various scar-producing experiences calm and serene.  The Lord has been with us through it all, thanks to our being able to trust in a Savior whose scars are the marks in his hands and feet, wounds he bore for us on the cross.  

Thomas said the now-famous words, "Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the prints of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe," John 20:25.   Jesus appeared to him eight days later and, after having Thomas see his wounds, and Thomas's proclamation of "My Lord and my God," Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believed," John 20:29.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Tennessee Scramble

My traveling and keeping up with things don't mix.  During three extended trips lately, I not only left my electric toothbrush and my favorite pillow at one son's house, I repeated the blooper with the replacement pillow we had bought. This time I left it on a motel bed where I had enjoyed a night's sleep!

On one return trip recently, I remembered that I had forgotten my computer power cord, plugged into the wall at our overnight lodging!  More money spent on a new cord!

"I can't find my brush!" I said to Howard as I searched my purse after leaving a grandson's house.  They had graciously put us up, saving a hotel fee while we were in town for his brother's services. I remembered laying the recently-bought, pricey hairbrush on top of my purse, to pack at the last minute. It must have rolled off and I didn't notice.  Not only that, an expensive (for a comb) styling comb is missing.  I kept thinking it was in the other purse I brought, but obviously it is lost.

"We missed a call," my husband said on our first night home.  I dialed the unfamiliar number and got a voice mail in a foreign accent saying, "Did you leave a pair of glasses in your room when you stayed here?" I recognized the voice of the desk attendant in lodgings ran by a family from India. Since the sunglasses I had just bought with birthday money were missing, I called back.  They were not sunglasses, so I knew they were just a pair of dollar readers.  I told her not to worry about it.  The sunglasses are still missing.

I pack as carefully as I can, but we had only just returned from a wedding trip when we had to repack for the sad occasion of our grandson's funeral.  Everything was ready the night before, so we could leave bright and early the next morning.  I trusted my husband to get the clothes he needed, but when it was time to dress for the solemn event, he found he had not brought the dress shirt he had laid out. It was hanging on a chair when we got home.  Most people there were in somber black, but he wore a short-sleeve, tan, summer shirt . Then he was asked to say a few words.  I think his heartfelt words made up for any dress faux pas, however.

One of the most important things we left was a carton of gold nuggets.  Not really, just a dozen eggs that our daughter had sent with us, courtesy of a friend at work who had given her several dozen farm-fresh eggs. "They will be fine in the air-conditioned car," I told Amy.  We even took them into the motel room and put them in the refrigerator. And there they still are, unless the cleaning lady took them home and enjoyed a special treat of golden, scrambled eggs!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Twenty-eight balloons.  I was clueless about the number of balloons released at our grandson's graveside rites.  I just knew there was a bunch, but of course it made sense that there was one for each of his 28 years. These weightless, shiny orbs floated upward until they were out of sight, symbolizing Joshua's spirit going to heaven, lightening for a moment the weight of heavy hearts below.

How appropriate, really.  The Bible says in James 4:14, "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow, For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away."

Joshua loved balloons.  I recall a time when he was a little over 2 years old and his sister Bethany was 16 months.  I worked at our church as office secretary, and for Secretaries' Day, I had received a beautiful pot of red tulips with a shiny, red, Mylar balloon attached. It was heart-shaped, if I remember right.  I kept the arrangement out of the grandchildren's reach, though they eyed the tantalizing balloon whenever they came over.

When I noticed that the balloon seemed to be deflating a little,  I took it down and offered it to the babies to play with. Bethany grabbed it, and in one fell swoop, expertly looped the string around her hand and dashed off with the prize, leaving a slightly baffled Joshua looking on.  All I could see was a blur of blonde curls and a streak of red as she made her way around the dining room table, on past the kitchen and into the den, squealing, "B'oon! B'oon!"  She had a red balloon and she wasn't letting go.

Then her feminine, mothering self surfaced, and she brought the balloon back to her big brother, forcibly thrusting it from her chest into his welcoming arms!  She gave him her heart!  And he had it for the rest of his life.  They were extremely close.  She has said he was her first playmate, first teacher and first friend.

Bethany married and has a family.  Joshua never married.  After the funeral, Bethany confided to me, "Mimi, all of us kids have had our special days when we were the center of attention.  Our weddings were big celebrations like a big party.  Josh never had that."  I listened, and she went on, "All the people who turned out today, some from very far away, coming to show their respects to Joshua...I feel like he would have enjoyed it, like it was his party."

I had to agree, especially as my heart swelled with emotion as I saw the very long line of cars following the hearse to his final resting place on this earth.  And it was a wedding, of sorts, for Joshua was going to meet the heavenly bridegroom.  Perhaps there would even be balloons!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Traveling On

Road Work!  How often would we see that sign on our journey across four states, going to and coming from a loved one's funeral. Sometimes the wait from a clog of traffic merging into a single lane seemed interminable. But it inevitably cleared up, if only to happen again a few miles down the road!

In order to avoid Tulsa, where we had often encountered detours that our GPS knew nothing about, my husband suggested a back way, and I agreed.  It took longer, and the way was not always smooth.  But once we got on I-40, we were set for the remainder of the trip. But first, we had to face the gauntlet of traffic in the corridor between Memphis and Little Rock.  It is a nightmare of trucks and speeding vehicles, almost bumper to bumper.

"This is my kind of driving," Howard said when we'd had a reprieve by skirting Nashville.  We'd never taken this shortcut before, but the route was a pleasant one of scenic hills and valleys with sparse traffic. It was a far cry from the steep mountain grades we'd been on earlier.  The runaway truck ramps spoke for themselves as the gravel-covered emergency escape lanes ending on a hill or incline stopped trucks when brakes failed.

These scenarios remind me of our journey through life, when it seems we are frequently experiencing road work!  Even for Christians, the road is not always smooth.  Marriages have rough patches. Families go through things.  And it often seems as soon as one crisis is over, another one appears.

How wonderful when we have periods of smooth sailing!  The hills and valleys of life can be sweet as we experience God's blessings and times of rest. Psalm 84:5-6 says, "Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them, Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools."

In other words, when we go through the valley of weeping, which is what Baca means, we can make it a well to collect God's showers of blessings instead of a place of desolation and arid ground.  Our family has had the loss of a loved one recently when our oldest grandchild passed away unexpectedly. We have been in a valley of weeping.  But we take comfort in remembering the good times of Joshua's life, and especially in the knowledge that he is in a perfect place with his Savior now.

Sometimes it seems difficulties come as thick and fast as runaway trucks in steep mountains of trouble. But God has provided an escape lane. "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world..." II Peter 1:4.

We can take heart, going from strength to strength  (Psalm 84:5) and glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). Now that is a glory road!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Climbing Higher

"Have you ever climbed a tree?" I asked my 3- and 4-year old grandchildren, Bethany and Joshua.  I had been trying to entertain them on that long-ago afternoon in Mississippi.  We had toured the yard, admiring the flowers and listening to the birds when I spotted the Magnolia tree.

"We don't know how, Mimi," they said in unison.  I placed their hands on the friendly, low branches of the tree and showed them how to reach for another low, smooth limb. Soon they had stretched themselves up and were sitting astride a sturdy arm of the tree.

"This is fun," they chortled.  After a little more of the strenuous exercise, I had to get them down from nature's jungle gym, especially when Bethany became a little too adventurous.

We loved our magnolias, one of which stood on either side of the long driveway.   Our children and their friends had grown up climbing this particular tree, the evenly spaced branches giving easy access to the perfect hide-outs and look-out views higher up. When one playmate moved away to England, he closed one of his letters to our son with the poignant words, "Climb the magnolia tree for me."

Not only did the trees have creamy-white fragrant flowers enjoyed in June, the green, glossy leaves surrounding them made wonderful garlands and mantel decor during the winter holidays. I learned that green was Joshua's favorite color only last week. We were at the graveside rites following his funeral. I  had wondered about the clutch of balloons waiting in a corner of the funeral chapel. I found out that they were to be released at the close of the service.

"What is the significance of the green balloons?" I asked one of Josh's brothers, to which he answered, "Green was Joshua's favorite color."  I never knew this!  Caleb told me that as children, whenever they chose a color for something--candies, shirts, etc., that Joshua always chose green while the other siblings had their favorites, which was a given. There were silver balloons, as well.

Soft voices singing to the strumming of a guitar blended with the gentle patter of rain on the tent shelter where we gathered for our final goodbyes. It was as if the balloons floated away on the sweet notes of the music still in the air. Higher and higher went the green balloons, interspersed with flashes of silver. We watched until they were out of sight.

Psalm 52:8 says, "But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever."

Joshua had stretched and grown and climbed his tree of life.  He was like a tree planted by the water, Jeremiah 17:8.  Now he is in the place of which scripture speaks: "And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life..." Revelation 22:2.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Animal Farm

"I don't see the goats," I observed as we drove into the farm yard on Howard's daily trek to tend his prize possessions.  They had been getting out of their enclosure, despite our repeated attempts to block every vulnerable possibility in the fence.  We were prepared for the eventuality that the young kids had wandered off and gotten lost.

Just then I thought I was seeing an apparition as a white, feathery ball tumbled out of a tree! It was followed by a black-and-white bundle.  The goats!  They had emerged from the canopy of leaves and were now trotting nimbly down the slanted trunk!  I burst out laughing at their antics!  They ran to us eagerly, happy to see us.

We were preparing to go out of town on the somber mission to our grandson's funeral after the 28-year-old's untimely passing.  My husband had scheduled a man to look after the goats periodically, but first we secured their pen once again.  That didn't prevent a couple of calls to Tennessee with the tidings that the escape artists were at it again.  They were put finally in a grassy area where, at last notice, they were content and well-contained.

On our way home, we have been visiting with our daughter, Amy, in Georgia.  When we arrived late one night, I was surprised to see their long-time pet, Scamp, happily coming to greet us.  The last I heard, he was on his last legs, so to speak, waylaid by a mysterious illness. But in the darkness he looked  as fit as I remembered.

In answer to my queries the next day, Amy related the saga of Scamp's turnaround.  He had been pitifully ill, not responding to any treatment, and they were regretfully considering the option of having the 12-year-old dog put down.  The kids protested, but everyone knew their beloved pet was dying.

Then one day her husband announced: "Scamp is not going to die." Then he confessed that, unable to see him suffer any longer, he had given the dog a massive dose of muscle relaxers and pain pills, confident Scamp would be out of his misery we he got back.  He was astounded to see Scamp up and around, if drunkenly staggering, when the family returned from church! Scamp has continued to improve daily, and except for arthritic stiffness, he is every bit his old self!

Animals are a marvel and a mystery.  In Scamp's case, I guess the old adage, "Whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger," is true.  I only hope that is true of us and our goats!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

His Light

"Father Abraham had many sons, many sons had Father Abraham.  And I am one of them and so are you, so let's just praise the Lord!"  I can just see Joshua as a little boy singing this children's song and doing the motions.  "Right hand, left hand, turn around, sit down!" as he collapsed in a heap on the ground.

We were in the yard on this glorious autumn day for a family Thanksgiving in the south, and all the grandchildren were playing outside after the big meal. The video captured the memories. When the other kids dropped out of the singspiration for other pursuits, Joshua was the last man standing as his uncle plunked out the tune on the guitar.

The years flew swiftly, and as his brothers and sisters left home to establish families of their own, our grandson was left to be his father's helper and right hand man.  Joshua  especially liked feeding the chickens and gathering eggs.  He had a special affinity for the animals he fed and cared for.  The impressions they made on him were reflected in the artistic sculptures that flowed from the clay in his gifted hands.

Some people have the gift for noticing things. Josh was one of them.  When I think about it, I realize that this is one of the great joys in life: to appreciate nature and its marvelous complexities.  The elm tree that holds approximately  six million leaves.  The wonder of the intelligence and personality of animals. The miracle of food that pops out of the ground from a tiny seed.

All of God's creation is amazing. David says in Psalm 8:3, "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man that thou art mindful of him? and in Psalm 19:1-3, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard."

Romans 1:20, "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse."

Since Joshua couldn't go to his younger brother's wedding, he took Zachariah aside and prayed an eloquent prayer over him, asking for the Lord's blessing over his marriage, safety for his journey and health for his body.  He quoted scripture over him and blessed him.

Now that Joshua is gone, we all realize what a blessing he was.  Was he perfect? No. But he was endowed with special qualities and gifts given to him by his Creator.  And he, himself, was a gift we were privileged to have for almost 29 years. We miss him.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

This Little Light of Mine

In the twinkling of an eye..  "How long does it take you to twinkle your eye?" my husband is fond of asking a congregation.  A twinkle is not a blink.  Eyes light up when they twinkle. "The light of the body is the eye," so says Matthew 6:22.  When someone dies, we say their light has gone out.

Our grandson died in an instant, of natural causes, according to medical reports. He had gone inside to fetch something for his father, and when he didn't return, Steve went in to see what was taking so long. He found 28-year-old Joshua sitting in his chair, eyes open, but not breathing and without a pulse. There was no light in his eyes. He was gone! It happened so fast, he didn't even have time to blink his eyes!

In life, no doubt Joshua's eyes twinkled in merriment quite often.  He loved to tell jokes, and I can just see his eyes light up when he came to the punch line!  I'm sure his eyes twinkled and crinkled with laughter as he played with his four little nephews he loved so much.  And nothing can make a hungry young man's eyes brighten like being called to supper by his mom.

What a spark must have lit up his eyes and lit up the room when a shining, heavenly being entered to take him to glory!  His mother said his face looked angelic!  He had even dressed for the occasion. Our daughter remarked at how nice he looked, dressed up for their homecoming after their trip to his brother's wedding, not knowing it would be his homecoming as well!

Joshua didn't like to ride in cars, after some anxiety attacks of late.  But his journey to heaven would not be by automobile, but by the finest flight, with royal flight attendants!  He may not have gone to his brother's wedding, but he would be present when the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7) takes place!

"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed," I Corinthians 15:51-52.

"So when this corruptible shall shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" I Corinthians 15:54, 55. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


How can one go from the euphoria of a wedding one day to the trauma and grief of a loved one's death the next day?  We had headed home from the wedding in Mississippi of our 22-year-old grandson. First, though, we had stopped at the church we used to pastor in Gulfport, Mississippi.  Howard had been asked to preach there.  Another wonderful reunion with old friends!

After stopping for the night somewhere in Arkansas, we had resumed our journey and were about halfway home when my cell phone rang.  Our granddaughter in Tennessee was crying and hysterically asking us to pray urgently for her older brother.  Our 28-year-old grandson was found unresponsive and not breathing. Earnest, beseeching prayers went up in our car.  It wasn't long until another granddaughter called and gave us the bad news.  Joshua was gone!

It was so unbelievable!  After the initial shock subsided, my thoughts went back to this, our first grandchild, and his early years in Mississippi where we lived.  I remembered taking him into the yard one hot summer day and letting the baby play with the hose.  He was fascinated with the gurgling water coming out as he held it upright.  "Wa-wa," he chortled.  Then he found out he could aim the hose. He had power in his control!

As he grew older, Joshua developed a love for chickens.  His father often hatched some in the spring. Joshua called the soft, yellow balls of fluff "biddies." "Mimi," he would say, "Don't you want some chickens?"  When I declined, he would say, "Not even some biddies?"  He couldn't imagine someone not in love with them as he was.  All he wanted for Christmas one year was a Big Bird.  He loved the plush, long-legged Sesame Street character I bought him and dragged it everywhere.

Joshua was a special-needs child.  It soon became apparent he was autistic.  Many years of struggle ensued for his parents as they tried to help him achieve developmental goals.  He graduated from high school.  He learned the computer.  Really, he was brilliant.  He had a rapier-sharp wit, wisecracking and giving quick comebacks, then laughing when I didn't catch on immediately.

Joshua loved movies.  His goal was to become a screen writer. Since I dabble in writing, he quizzed me and questioned me for tips on publishing  and how to achieve his goal.

Living far away in Oklahoma, I lacked the opportunity to interact with Josh in recent years.  He lived at home with his parents who kept a small farming operation with a garden for Joshua's benefit.  Our grandson loved animals and dutifully cared for them. Filling out data for his funeral today, the director asked what he did.  "Shall we say he was a farmer?" our daughter asked her husband, to which he said, "No. He was a writer."

As a young boy Joshua used to come to our house where we had lived all his life, and ask, "Mimi, aren't you ever going to move?"  Actually, I did, after 20 years.  Now Joshua has moved, too. To a big house of his own, with all the animals he would ever want to love and tend, perfect and complete. When his parents found him, our daughter said he looked angelic.  The angels had been in the room to take him home.

Friday, June 26, 2015


Seeing our old house was at the top of my to-do list on our visit to our former home town, the place where we had raised our family.  Countless times during lonely hours of sentimental reminiscing my thoughts were filled with memories of those days. How would I react if I got to walk through those dear, familiar rooms again?  I got teary just thinking about it.

I had been unable to contact the present owners with the possibility that we might drop by while we were in town for the wedding of our grandson.  After repeated attempts to reach them, my husband and I decided we would just drive by the place.  But he was pulling in the driveway!  He boldly got out, walked to the door and rang the bell.  This felt so intrusive!

In a moment Howard beckoned me to join him after chatting with the friendly man who answered the door.  I walked upon the porch, noticing they had painted the floor the same shade of gray porch paint we had used several times over our 20-year residence there. We were warmly welcomed and invited in.  My eyes hungrily took in the space.  The golden heart-of-pine floors that I had loved so much glowed beneath my feet as I stepped in.

I was taken aback at the beauty! Tasteful furnishings were placed in comfortable arrangements around "our" living room that opened onto a deck.  The one we had built so many years ago had been replaced  sometime back. The view that met my eyes was amazing!

This was a magazine-worthy, cozy garden enclosed in rustic board fences and filled with thoughtful touches in every surprising nook.  An antique, porcelain sink stood in a far corner looking perfectly at home.  Opulent rows of lavishly drooping tomato plants had delivered over 600  ripe, luscious ruby-red gems to the home gardener, who had a pot of them on the stove sending their aromatic, steamy fragrance throughout the house.

There was even an outdoor working kitchen, complete with an evenly-laid wood floor and an adjoining bricked space. Gourmet chef cooking tools hung from a shelf lined with old soda bottles and bric-a-brac. Back inside, we were invited to peek in any and all rooms, company ready, as if they were expecting us!

Across a breezeway, which had always been my decorating nemesis, I noticed slight indentations on the facing of the door to the "man cave."  Though the door frame had been repainted, I knew the marks were from our then-teenage son who in a fit of energy? aggravation? whatever, had carved into it a list of chores he had done: 1. Swept breezeway. 2. Mowed grass.  3. Fed dog.  4.  Blew off driveway.  All followed by date of completion!

The rest of the house was filled with organized collections, book-filled shelves, and comfy furniture. There was even an antique juke-box filled with 45-vinyl discs!  The majestic, antique range we remembered presided over a second kitchen. More patios and gardens were glimpsed through the windows.

The house was everything I had ever wanted it to be, and more.  It reminded me of something I heard in a teaching by Beth Moore. She said that when the saints return with Jesus at the second coming, we will be everything we were meant to be.  No personality flaws, no age-lined faces, no broken-down bodies--just happy and complete.

The comparison somehow seems appropriate, for this house was born in a church, you might say.  It was built from cypress beams and lumber from the predecessor of the church next door to it.  And many of God's people were born-again in church. Hebrews 12:23 calls us "the church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, ...the spirits of just men made perfect."   The house was not my home anymore, but I have a perfect home, my real home waiting in heaven!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Her Father's Eyes

The best Father's Day gift I can think of is one experienced by our son last Sunday.  Jamie got to baptize his eight-year-old daughter, Anne-Marie.  I knew she had been requesting it for some time, and the time allotted fell on Father's Day!  As one of the pastors of his church, it was his privilege to baptize this oldest child, the serious one.

When I was asking about the grandchildren the other day, Jamie told me, "Anne-Marie is such a thinker!"  He further explained that she told him she had had three dreams, and that she had the interpretation for all of them.  She also said she knew the name of the baby her mother had lost a few years ago in an early miscarriage, and it was "Luke Jake." (It was so early the gender was not determined.)

I told Jamie that her insistence on being baptized reminded me of my 8-or-9-year-old self when I wanted my own Bible in the  worst way.  I had been wheedling for my mother to buy me one, but times were hard and money was tight with her houseful of kids to raise. Then one Saturday evening we were in a Kress store, when I got a glimpse of my Sunday School teacher. She seemed to be shielding something from me, and the next morning in class she surprised me with a New Testament--my own Bible! My joy knew no bounds.

Anne-Marie's water baptism made me think of her father when he was eight.  Our pastor had announced that particular Sunday morning that there would be a baptismal service that afternoon at Little Black Creek, a well-known, popular fishing and swimming site.  On the way out of the church after the service, I glanced at the list on a foyer table of baptismal candidates. There in his childish penmanship I saw Jamie's name!  He had signed himself up to be baptized!

He was an original thinker, too, such as the time he decided at age 7 to brew his dad a cup of coffee so that the aroma would wake him from a nap.  Balancing the cup of hot coffee, Jamie splashed some on his hand, causing him to jerk and spill the coffee into his father's ear as he lay sleeping on the floor.  Or the time he took it upon himself to secretly take a hostess gift consisting of a bottle of booze to a home prayer meeting. (A misguided customer at the store had given it to Howard as a Christmas present and it stood unopened on a high shelf.)

I have read that an early interest in spiritual things is one sign of a gifted child.  I believe it, although they may not be so gifted in gift-giving!  Oh yes, after the baptismal, Anne-Marie was presented with her own Bible.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A Day to Remember

Howard had a momentous birthday, for more reasons than one.  A little great-grandson was  born on his birthday!  (Two years ago, his parents got married on my husband's birthday!) We had been anxiously awaiting news of the baby's safe arrival, since he was two months early.  Due to complications, he was delivered prematurely by C-section.

My cell phone rang just as we were leaving for our Monday night Bible study. I saw it was our daughter, who told me the happy news: 2 lbs, 4 oz. and doing well!  Howard was buckling his seat belt (he always does it halfway down the driveway) and listening intently to my conversation about the baby.  Just then we heard a scrape, crunch and shattering of glass!  He had distractedly backed into a car in the street!

Thankfully, the mishap was nothing serious, just a scraped driver's-side door of the other car, and a broken tail-light for us.  Insurance info was shared, the police came and took notes, and shortly we were on our way.  I had called to tell the host we would be late.  They were near the end of a time of praise and worship when we walked in, and at the conclusion, burst into a rousing round of  "Happy Birthday to you!" to Howard's surprise.

As we prepared to leave after the Bible study, everyone gathered around to pray over and bless the birthday boy.  Words were spoken to the effect that God would bless him with a new beginning and new opportunities in the Lord's service. Later I quipped that getting a new great-grand-baby for your birthday was a quite a new beginning!

Today after his getting a birthday card from a friend in Kansas, our ten-year-old granddaughter (adopted into the family three years ago) asked, "How did you know her?" to which I replied "Pa-Pa has preached in their church."

"What? He's a preacher?" she exclaimed.  It's been a few years since Howard was a pastor, but he still preaches occasionally.  Kids forget, so I filled our granddaughter in on our pastoring a church in Mississippi and other fields of service.  He may be retired now, but once a preacher, always a preacher, and my spouse keeps busy studying the Bible, sharing scripture cards with people daily, teaching Sunday school or just thanking God that all our large family serves the Lord.  Now that's a momentous birthday!

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Notebook

"Have you seen my little booklet where I write down things I want to remember?" my husband asked first thing this morning.  "See, it looks like one of these," he said, showing me tiny books he had bought at the stationery store with names like Penny for your Thoughts, Bright Ideas, and Stuff to Do.  

I told him I hadn't seen it, and he said he had looked for it yesterday to use in the lesson he was teaching in Sunday School.  He gave up resignedly and in a few minutes came in wearing his denim farm shirt.  "It was in this pocket," he said, "I prayed I would find it, and there it was!" The title was Stuff I'm Likely to Forget.

My spouse has a memory like an elephant, and he doesn't forget much, especially about things that happened a long time ago. He had called me to come and look at a calf that was lying in the grass just outside the corral on our son's farm yesterday.  "I think it's a newborn," Howard said.  Pretty soon, though, it got up and ambled to another spot and lay down in the tall grass.  I could see it wasn't a newborn.

Howard called the owner of the cows that pasture on the property and asked him about it. "Did it have a tag in its ear?" the man asked.  It didn't, then he said, "That calf has a very mean mother.  She wouldn't even let us get near it to tag it.  She is very good at hiding out her calf."  It's a good thing my wanna-be farmer didn't try to "rescue" it, as he had thought about.

My husband was telling this story to our son-in-law on the phone, when I heard him say about a mutual friend of theirs from the past, "I remember when Buck Martin told me a cow knocked him down, then pinned him to the grass.  He looked up to see her standing over him with those long horns and called out to God that she wouldn't hurt him.  Just then she moved away!"

I must admit I  was a little relieved Howard hadn't found the booklet, for it contained reminders of stories he liked to tell. (He related enough of them in class yesterday.) Today is his birthday, and he's had an overwhelming number of Happy Birthday wishes on Facebook, as well as a text message, a voice-mail, and a telephone call.  Everybody loves him, and he's worth it, stories and all! Something I'm not likely to forget!

Sunday, June 14, 2015


After 10 days of neglect while we were away, our plants are finally reclaiming some of their former glory. Thankfully, copious watering and nurturing with plant food has revived the flowers for the most part.  Instead of the former beautiful blooms, I found the petunias covered with dried, crisp, dead flowers when we got home.  They have required a lot of deadheading, which seems to have helped!

Deadheading just means removing the dried flowers to stimulate new growth.  If the dried blossoms are left on, the energy of the plant goes to producing seed where the blooms once were.  They can come back stronger and more beautiful than ever after deadheading.  If the process is put off too long, the plant will stop producing flowers at all.

Isn't that a lot like our Christian lives?  If we are deprived of the water of the Word and neglect our souls, our testimony can shrivel and dry up.  We can go to seed, so to speak. I guess deadheading is a little like pruning.  Getting rid of the unnecessary to allow growth and beauty to show forth.

Jesus talks about pruning in the Bible. "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit," John 15:1-2.

Occasionally in deadheading, it's best to take away the whole stem, so the rest of the plant will grow stronger.  According to experts, it is better to begin deadheading plants early for more beauty and color later in the season. By the same token, when we realize an activity or involvement in our life is going nowhere, is not productive or beneficial, especially to our spiritual life, the earlier we cut it off, the better.

Frivolous entertainment, excessive use of social media, the wrong friends and relationships, or any number of distractions can sap our time and energy so that we have no time to nourish our spirits. We need to deadhead some of these things!  Prune off some unnecessary branches!

Kind of like going on a diet!  Leave out the rich temptations and empty calories in favor of good, healthy fare!  Soon you will notice a difference in outward appearance, glowing with health and lighter in spirit. The spiritually nutritious meat of the word is the food we need to grow in God. Solomon's words in Proverbs concerning words of wisdom say, "For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh," Proverbs 4:22.

Deadheading or pruning may seem extreme or hurtful, but when it comes to gardening it is really a kindness, and that goes for the gardening of our hearts as well!

Saturday, June 13, 2015


I saw a funny video someone posted on Facebook about goats having human-like voices.  It's true!  We got some baby goats yesterday, and today were attempting to lead them into a grassy area to graze.  You would have thought someone was being murdered!  They shrieked and screeched exactly like a woman screaming!  Of course they stopped immediately as soon as they saw the green grass and began nibbling contentedly.

My husband and I sat and watched them for a long time, fascinated by the way they determinedly pulled tufts of grass and amused by their comical look when long strands of tall grass hung from their mouths.   After awhile, the new wore off, and although we were relishing the fresh air, fluffy clouds and quiet setting, I said, "This is like watching  grass grow!"  Howard wasn't bored, though, so we stayed awhile longer.

I thought about David, the shepherd boy, who herded sheep and tended them in long stretches of solitude and silence, the monotony only broken sometimes by threatening predators, a wayward sheep to rescue, or other dangers.  I  could identify, since we had marauders destroy a flock of chickens a couple of years ago, and had goats disappear.

It was in these lonely settings that David learned to communicate with God.  Perhaps these were the times when he composed the lovely psalms to his Creator.  The Bible says that when Samuel anointed him king at Bethlehem while he was still a youth, "...the spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward,"I Samuel 16:13. David continued to tend sheep until and after he was called into Saul's service.

One can imagine David passing the time by honing and perfecting his skills with the slingshot, aiming at rocky hillside targets, tree branches, snakes or even the bear and lion he killed.  He had no idea this skill would make him immortal in the annals of history.  

Howard has been studying the Sunday School lesson he is to teach tomorrow, and he asked me to find a scripture assuring us that God hears us.  I Googled it, and found 27 scriptures listed confirming that God hears and answers prayer!  One of my favorites is Psalm 34:17, "The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, And delivereth them out of all their troubles."

It is amusing to notice the resemblance of goats' cries to the human voice.  But God's people are called sheep, not goats, in scripture.  Jesus, the Good Shepherd, tell us, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me," John 10:27. There is no mistaking that Voice!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fun Day!

"Do you want to go to an Arts and Craft fair at the park?" our son Trevor asked us Saturday, the last day of our visit. Turns out it was Texas Day, and several artisans and crafters had their goods for sale. We wandered under the beautiful, tall shade trees, also accompanied by son Mark and his wife, Rhonda, drinking incredible homemade lemonade, worth every bit of the $5 price!

"This is the park where Julie used to bring the day camp kids to swim," Trevor reminded me.  Our daughter had had a summer job with the YMCA during her college years there. (She told me that part of her training had been to write a practice letter to parents that their child had died that day!  No doubt a device to insure vigilance for the kids' safety!)

The fair was nice, but a little tame, I thought, with offerings of homemade soaps, local art work, tool demonstrations, etc.  Then Trevor suggested going  into the Chautauqua building--a huge octagonal structure in the center of the park that I was curious about. The moment I stepped inside, I was excited! Here was the mother lode of craft fairs! Besides that, rich, melodic, musical notes permeated the atmosphere!

Antiques and collectibles of every description were on display, bringing expressions of surprise and fascination by the ladies of our group, especially. I lost track of Howard, and I spied him sitting on one of several church pews in front of a stage filled with an amazing sight.  An old-fashioned band and singers in country attire were performing beautiful music on guitars, violins, banjos and even a jawbone and rib bone!

I sat down with my husband and joined in in what I thought was "When the Roll is Called up Yonder," but he told me it was something different.  I think one could sing almost any song with the music and it would fit!  Things were a little pricey, but very nostalgic and entertaining.  Nothing took my eye enough to buy it until we were walking out the door--an artistic watering can that would look cute on my front porch, and reasonable, too.

Looking at a flyer afterwards, I found that a Chautauqua was a name for old-time summer gatherings for political, religious, or entertainment purposes, usually held near creeks or lakes, originating from Lake Chautauqua, New York in 1874. This particular one is the only known original Chautauqua building surviving in Texas.  And it was spectacular!  Restored in 1975 and revived in 2000, it is in use once again for special events.

My surprise and delight on going into the awesome building made me think of the treasures that heaven holds. Like the park, what we enjoy in our beautiful world, and it is beautiful, will seem hum-drum and dull compared to the glories that await!  The sparkling water there will not be a rustic creek where kids could drown, but a crystal, clear river running through the City of God.  There won't be a need for a summer revival, though I'm sure it will feel like one. And the music will be indescribable, when the roll is called up yonder!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Excess Baggage

"Oh, no!"I exclaimed aloud as we rolled along the highway on our way home.  My husband looked at me questioningly, and I said, "I think I left my pillow at Jamie's!"  I had straightened the bed, placing my pillow on top of the others so I would be sure to notice it. Then I was so caught up in emptying the closet, gathering toiletries from the bathroom and picking up sundry scattered items that I didn't notice my pillow.

The pillow was actually a Christmas present.  Since I had complained effusively about all our bed pillows, Howard bought me a new one.  And it slept like a dream!  So often when visiting or sleeping in a hotel, I find the pillows too hard and too plump. I prefer a soft, thinner pillow that doesn't give me a crick in my neck!

Unpacking at home that night,  I couldn't find my toothbrush.  Not just any toothbrush, my electric toothbrush!  I remember using it right before I finished packing when leaving our other son Trevor's house.  I must  have left it on counter of our grandsons' bathroom we used. I felt like the pioneers leaving articles strewn across the desert on their way west!  They had had to lighten their load for speed, since time was of the essence in getting to their destination before winter.

We could have lightened our load by a little more planning!  I think my spouse just cleared a rack in his closet and put the contents in the car.  About halfway through our trip, the rod holding the clothes over the back seat broke!  I took too many clothes, too, but at least I wore everything, while he got by on two or three outfits!

Besides our wonderful visits with our kids, we enjoyed browsing favorite shops in their area that we don't have at home.  This led to picking up this or that cute item, especially at places like Cracker Barrel, and now I am hard-pressed to find a place for them in my full house!  We even squeezed in a small cabinet and picture set our son was discarding!

Although Jesus was an itinerant Preacher, he traveled light.  Seemingly folks then had only one or two changes of clothing, unless they were rich or noble.  He was in effect, homeless. "And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head."

After the summary of the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, the next chapter reads, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great  a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us," Hebrews 12:1.

I love making a home, and my spouse loves my decorating,   But when it comes to decor, enough is enough! (But I still have to shop for a pillow and toothbrush!)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Power or No Power?

We were just home from a 10-day trip, and it seemed that everything had to be done at once: unpacking, laundry, watering wilted flowers, picking up mail and buying groceries. I had been busy all morning, and now it was noon.  Since there was nothing in the fridge, we decided to get lunch in town before grocery shopping.

We had just placed our order when the lights blinked in the restaurant.  We were given our drinks and I had picked up straws and napkins when everything went dark!  Power outage! We were the last customers to be served, as everyone else was turned away.  Someone in the next booth said his wife texted that the power was off in Walmart.  The town was in a virtual shut-down as groceries were left in carts and people advised to go home.

"Maybe we should go to Stillwater to buy groceries," my husband ventured, but then we realized we had no refrigeration at home.  It was probably a good thing we didn't go, since we heard the power was out all the way to Winfield, Kansas, some 50 miles away.  There was nothing to do but go home, sit on the porch and read our accumulated mail.  At one point, I went inside for something, and something was different. Cool air hit my face and a dim glow was coming from the kitchen.  The power was on!

In Bible study last night, we were discussing growing our faith, referencing Jude 1:20, which says, "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost."  I had always wondered about the scripture that says, "For whosoever hath, to him it shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath," Matthew 13:12.

I concluded that it must mean understanding, because I Corinthians 2:8, tells us, "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." This is referring to the preceding verse which says, "But it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."  (I had always interpreted that to mean what awaits us in heaven, but from the context it means the revealing of the deep things of God.) Since He reveals things by His Spirit, it is when we pray in the Spirit that he reveals things to us and our faith is built!

A friend  and wife of our former pastor shared a riveting, heartrending account on Facebook of her child's near-fatal accident a few days ago. The three-year-old had fallen into the pool, being submerged for two to three minutes.  When her mother pulled her out, she was gray, and in her words, "a dead child."  Frantic 911 calls, chest compressions (she had only recently learned CPR), and "prayers in words I can't recall" culminated in the child's blinking just as the EMTs arrived.

After an overnight hospital stay of tests and observation, the little girl was pronounced sound, to the doctor's and medical staff's amazement.  No one denies it was a miracle! She ate her breakfast heartily, despite teeth lacerations to the tongue from the seizures she suffered during CPR.

I have no doubt her survival was not only due to her mother's resuscitation skills, but from the Holy Ghost power in the prayers of this Spirit-filled woman. No electrical failure can destroy that Power!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Paper Trail

"Oh, Howard! We forgot to bring our Cracker Barrel gift certificate," I exclaimed on our way to visit family in Texas.  I bemoaned the fact that we could have used it on this trip.  Not finding the sheet of paper that my grandson had printed off on his computer, I guessed I had left it in another purse.

"Well, we could have Jamie print another one," I mused.  "I already deleted it on the computer, because Adam had printed it for me.  But since it went to 'Trash,' I think I can retrieve it," I finished hopefully.

A busy five days followed, during which we enjoyed our grandchildren, met Jamie for lunch a few times, and bravely set out on forays exploring the shops and area on our own, not to mention going to church, and eating delicious meals at their house.

The morning we were to leave, our son suggested we all go to breakfast on our way out of town. "Do you still want me to print out that certificate?" Jamie asked me.  I was glad he hadn't forgotten about it and told him to go ahead.  He asked my password and went through the process, but he said he couldn't find it.  Then I told him it was in "Trash," and he said it was probably lost, because they are only kept about a week in that file.  Sure enough, it had been discarded.

"I'll call Amy and see if she can give me any information on it," Jamie offered.  After all, my daughter was  the one who sent me the electronic restaurant card for Mother's Day in the first place.  Amy said she would try to recover the info and call him back. Meanwhile, I told Jamie that I would probably be able to find it at home, and we could use it another time.  He said he wouldn't look any further, since that was the case.

Just then the phone rang.  Amy had found her order.  In a few minutes, Jamie walked out of his office with the elusive paper in his hand, and, giving it to me, said, "Let's go eat."  When I asked  where we were going, he said, "Cracker Barrel, I hope!"  Since he has Fridays off, we had a wonderful breakfast with him and the grandchildren.

They say that nothing is ever really lost on the internet.  And that may be a good or bad thing. Our paper trail is really an electronic trail.  Jesus keeps records, too.  There is an important piece of paper, so to speak, a page in what the Bible calls the Book of Life. That is where our name is recorded if we have trusted Jesus as our Savior.

"And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are written in the book of life," Philippians 4:2.

Revelation 20:12, "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."

"And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire," Revelation 20:15.

The Bible also speaks in many places of names blotted out from the book of life, such as in Exodus 32:32-33.  But Revelation 3:5 assures us, "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."  

That is a record that cannot be lost or misplaced!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Lost and Found.

"What is he saying?" I wondered aloud, as the man collecting the carts at Walmart waved to us and tried to get our attention. Then I saw a beige purse in his hand.  My purse! I must have left it in the cart!

"Howard, why didn't you check the cart?" I exclaimed.  To avoid lugging a heavy purse, I often place it in the baby-seat section of the buggy, then if I forget it, my husband will notice it before he puts the cart away.

I took the purse from the man, then on a closer look, I realized it wasn't my purse at all!  The color and shape had fooled me. My purse was at my feet! I got the man's attention and told him I'd made a mistake, to which he replied, "Well, I'll just take it inside then." (My husband reminded me that I was the one who had emptied the cart. Touche'!)

Nothing makes me more panicky than to think I have lost or left my purse somewhere.  Besides the fact that it contains important cards and Iphone, the feeling of being violated as someone is looking through my personal possessions and seeing the messy contents is almost as bad as losing my bag!

This morning as I went down to breakfast at our son's house, I wanted to check my phone, when I realized I had left my purse upstairs.  Except that it wasn't upstairs!  I retraced my steps, remembering that last night after church I had dug in the purse for an allergy pill.  A search of the downstairs proved fruitless.  Was it before or after church I had looked for the meds?  I couldn't remember!

What if I had left it at church?  Maybe I was carrying my grandson's diaper bag and unconsciously assumed it was my purse?  I looked in the van we were in.  Nothing.  Our son works at the church, so I instructed him to call if he found it there.  My heart pounding and a headache coming on, I went back upstairs to make the bed and get dressed.  "God, help me find my purse," I prayed as I picked up a pillow off the floor.  My purse! There it was beside the bed under the pillow!  Thank you, Lord!

All that was small potatoes compared to a scenario a couple of days ago.  Our granddaughters were home from school and the baby-sitter had left.  Leaving Howard downstairs with them, I went upstairs and saw I had missed a call.  Chatting with Jamie as I returned the call, I could see my granddaughter's red skirt as she passed the window on her bike.

"Where are the girls?" I asked their Pa-Pa as I went back downstairs.  He said he didn't know, they were here a minute ago.  "Well, I don't see them," I said as I looked through the house and called.  He said Anne-Marie had been riding her bike, but I saw her bike on the porch.  The more we looked for them, the more alarmed I became.

Finally, we scooped up the baby and got in the car to look around the neighborhood.  They knew not to leave the yard, but what if?  I was ready to call their father when I took one last look through the big house.  There they were, in an alcove off their parents' room, quietly playing and looking at books. They hadn't heard me!

I couldn't help but think of the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15.  "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing," Luke 15:4-5.

"I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance," Luke 15:7.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Lot at Stake!

Our steaks had come, and they looked delicious! We had decided to go to our local steak house, a splurge, but it would be something to do on a lonely, holiday weekend. My husband and I had already visited the salad bar, enjoying the array of fixin's and the warmly glowing atmosphere of immaculate, cloth-covered tables and attractive settings.  A tiny loaf of freshly baked bread sat on the table, and it tasted as good as it looked.

We had been enjoying watching the other diners, especially a large family of mixed generations, from tots to grandma, with the bright attraction of two pretty girls the center of attention.  It was graduation night, and they had obviously come for an early celebration dinner before ceremonies at the auditorium. I nudged Howard and looked on admiringly as they held hands around the table and bowed their heads for a blessing.

I couldn't wait to put my fork into the luscious-looking steak.  Howard was already swooning over his. He said it was just right, partly, I think, because I had urged him to order it medium-rare, instead of his usual medium-well, which was invariably too dry and chewy.

Something was odd.  My steak tasted like steak sauce, which I do not care for.  I ate a few more bites, trying to like it, but it had a sour, almost vinegary taste.  "Does yours taste like this?" I asked my husband, to which he replied that he liked steak sauce.  I sat there disappointed, wondering if I should say something to the server.  I hated to complain, and even have to wait for them to prepare another steak for me.

Well, it was expensive, so when the waitress passed by again, I told her it tasted sour.  She said they did not use steak sauce, but it might be the marinade!  She checked, and that is what it  was.  "Can I bring you another one without marinade?" the helpful lady offered.  I agreed, and resignedly prepared for a long wait, knowing Howard would be finished by the time it got there.  Thankfully, my steak appeared promptly, and then it was my turn to swoon.  It was heavenly!  It tasted like steak!

Thinking about this later, I was glad I spoke up.  Even though my husband thinks I am pretty outspoken, I really don't like to make waves.  I think a  lot of women are like this, just settling for less than the best, rather than cause an inconvenience.  Recently in our ladies' Bible study, Women of the Bible, we looked at Abigail, the wife of a wealthy, but stingy man, Nabal.

David had been hiding out from King Saul and was camped near Nabal's property and had protected Nabal's servants from marauders during a time of sheep shearing.  At one point, David's men were low on supplies, so David sent some of them to pay a visit to Nabal, asking politely for the favour of some provisions.  When churlish Nabal refused, quick-tempered David set out to attack the ungrateful rich man.  One of the servants overheard the plan and reported it to Abigail.

Abigail, "a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance," I Samuel 25:3, took matters into her own hands and loaded donkeys with bread, wine, meat, corn, raisins and figs, enough to feed an army, and placated warring David with her respectful, but brave manner, dissuading him from his plan to kill her husband and destroy his property, convincing him, as a man of God, not to needlessly shed blood.

The story ends with Nabal's death from a stroke after hearing about what almost happened to him, and David marrying Abigail. Sometimes it pays to speak up!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Step by Step

I watched my granddaughter graduate today.  I also heard her make a speech, as a class officer.  Night before last, I got to hear her speech for baccalaureate. Did I make the trip to Georgia?  No, thanks to the miracle of modern communication, I viewed iPhone videos almost in real time.  I had hoped for Face Time, but we didn't make connections.

How could time have gone so fast since I used to baby-sit her and her brother and little sister?  How could this quiet, shy, little girl grow into a teenager who talked so softly I always had to  say, "Talk louder and  don't mumble," then become this articulate, poised young woman I saw addressing hundreds--no, thousands--of people today?

They do grow up!  When she called to thank me for her graduation gift, Corrin told me how surreal it seemed that high school was over.  She said it was bittersweet, thinking of leaving her friends, yet looking forward to the exciting unknown of college.

Coming from a family of sports enthusiasts, Corrin played softball in middle-school, then pursued and excelled at golf in high school.  She is also a swimmer, working last summer as a lifeguard, then through the winter at a senior aquatic center, to resume her lifeguard job at a pool this summer.

Since childhood, our granddaughter has tried to keep up with her big brother, unabashedly adoring and imitating him as a role model.  She even put up with his assaults, like the time he told her to turn around, then shot her with a bb gun! Unfortunately, her competitive, daring bent, while a good confidence builder, has gotten her into a few scrapes.  Nothing like the one that almost took her life when she had a serious accident with an ATV at age 15.

All through high school, Corrin has staunchly withstood the aftermath of the accident--several bone grafts and surgeries in preparation for dental work to restore her mouth. Though we feared disfigurement from facial injuries, she has grown more beautiful than ever.  As a junior, she was a homecoming maid, and as a senior, the homecoming queen.

When I expressed sympathy over her accident while she was in the hospital, her response was, "It made me a better person."  Her spiritual life has deepened, she is a responsible young lady, and she is ready for college!  But I'll always remember her as a toddler coming into our adjoining apartment in the middle of the night, cold with a wet diaper and carrying a cold bottle, climbing into our bed and sleeping in the middle!

Friday, May 22, 2015


I was having a nice phone chat with my daughter, when I became aware of my husband saying something, and gesturing toward the computer screen. He had just gotten off the phone discussing building a chicken pen with our son, so I figured he was trying to look up something about chickens.  I waved him off as I finished our conversation.

"What's wrong?" I demanded at Howard's cross look as he pointed to the computer.  Then I looked closer, to read: "Security Alert!  Your computer security has been compromised!  Call this number immediately for help!" The screen was covered with little boxes with alarming warnings.  We turned off the computer, and guess what! When we turned it back on the messages were still there! We couldn't get rid of them nor open our computer!

I called our computer guru, and he asked if we had responded in any way.  When we said no, he said to bring it in to the shop, maybe it wasn't too late. Howard took it there immediately, saying, "This is gonna cost us!"  He was gone about three hours, having waited for the work to be done.  I was glad to see a look of relief on his face.

"He fixed it," my husband announced wearily.  "It had been hacked.  He said these things are going on constantly.  If we had answered their message, we would have lost all security."  Howard said they would have had access to bank accounts, social security numbers, Facebook, and anything else we had on our computer.

"He told me our computer was about out of space (I knew this, for I had read an alert recently).  He said we had maybe a month's worth of storage left," Howard went on.  Our computer is about eight years old, so I knew it had to be pretty full.  "He increased the storage for us by 16 gigabytes," my husband said.

Wow!  All that?  And at a very reasonable price!  Thank you, Lord!  I thought of the saying, "The devil meant it for evil, but God used it for good."  He certainly did!  Our computer had needed service for a long time, and to think I have more space for pictures, and a cleaned-up computer!  The criminal, devil-inspired, mind behind the thievery was foiled for us!

The quote comes from Joseph when he says about his brother's having sold him, "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive," Genesis 50:20.

Our need wasn't that huge, but I'm thankful God cares about the things that are important to us!  I  had lost my favorite lipstick.  I checked the car, under the seats and on the floor, as well as emptying my purse and checking bedroom and bathroom.  I would have bought another one yesterday, but I was too tired to go to the cosmetic section after shopping.  Then today, as I picked up a comb after a shampoo, I see it lying on a bathroom counter!  

I was in the mood for my short-cut version of Eggs Benedict this morning. I put the egg on to poach, put the English muffin in the toaster, and reached for cheese on the fridge shelf.  It was nowhere! I searched and searched. "Howard, are we out of cheese?" I questioned.  He didn't know, so I finally closed the refrigerator door, opening it again a few minutes later for something, and the cheese fell out into my hand!  Just little reminders that God cares for us!