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.