Tuesday, December 25, 2012

What If...............

C-H-O-I-C-E..................that seems to be the buzz word for today's society.  We should have a right to choose if we want to work or live off the government.  We should have the right to choose to own a firearm or make it illegal.  We should have a right to pray in government buildings (i.e. schools) or to forbid it.


What If.............what if Mary had chosen a different path for her pregnancy?  She was promised to Joseph as a wife.  Some say that's the same as our modern day engagement.  However, in the culture of that time, it was much more far-reaching.  A woman promised to a man was already considered married to the man, yet without the sexual element of marriage.  She was to keep herself pure until the official marriage ceremony had been performed.

A woman who CHOSE to do otherwise, brought shame to her husband-to-be, to her Father and family, and to herself.

This is the second act of the Christmas play performed at our church last weekend.  Very thought provoking and written by a lady in our congregation, Marta Hazelgrove.  

(A doctor and Mary are sitting in an “office”.)
Doctor: Mary, I’m so glad you came to us in your time of trouble.  Please don’t be embarrassed.  You aren’t the first girl to find yourself in this position.
 Mary: My friends told me you might be able to help me.
 Doctor: Of course we will help you.  You’re young.  Single.  The man you are betrothed to is not going to want you anymore.  Your family will probably disown you.  If you carry this baby to full term, you will be ostracized.
 Mary: All of that is true.  But I don’t know how you can help me.  Can you find a place where I can hide until the baby is born?
 Doctor: Oh, no.  No.  We can do something better than that!  We can make this problem go away.

 Mary: Go away?  How can you make a baby go away?
 Doctor: It’s a wonderful, new thing we can do now.  We can just make this baby go away.  AND, we can do it with the government’s approval.  It’s a win-win for you.
Mary: But you just said you couldn’t put me away until the baby is born.  Oh no! You’re talking about murdering my baby after it’s born?
 Doctor: Well, Mary.  Actually what you are carrying is not even a baby.  It’s just a blob of tissue.
Mary: What?  A blob of tissue?
Doctor: Yes.  Just a blob of tissue.  And we can make this blob of tissue go away before it’s even born.  It’s something called an abortion.
Mary: An abortion.  It sounds so……ugly.
Doctor: Oh no, Mary.  It’s an amazing thing.  Just a little procedure and poof!! The blob of tissue is gone.  And you will be free after that, Mary.  FREE!! Free to go on living your life.  And no one will ever have to know about it.
Mary: Wellllll….. I don’t know.  I don’t think I could do something like that.
Doctor: Mary, be sensible about this.  Don’t let your emotions cloud this issue.  Think of this blob of tissue like you would a tumor.  It’s not like you would be getting rid of a living thing.  You wouldn’t leave a tumor in your body, would you? 
Mary: Of course not….but…..
Doctor: Why don’t I leave you alone for a while to think about it?  You’re a sensible young woman.  Don’t bring a child into this world when you can’t even care for it.  Think about it, OK?  I know you’ll do the right thing.  And think about this – it’s YOUR body and YOUR choice.

Mary sits quietly and thinks (head down). 
A voice off-stage quotes Bible verses about the sanctity of life.

“For I know the thoughts
that I think toward you, says the Lord,
thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you a future and a hope.” 
(Jeremiah 29:11)
“For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb. 
I will praise You, for I am fearfully
and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well. 
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in
the lowest parts of the earth. 
Your eyes saw my substance
being yet unformed. 
And in Your book they were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them. 
How precious also are Your thoughts t
o me, O God! 
How great is the sum of them!” 
(Psalm 139:13-17)


What If..........this is a long way from the 'God box' most of us have.  It is, however, something to consider.  What if Mary had chosen abortion?  Where would mankind be without Jesus Christ------WITHOUT HOPE!
May your Christmas be warmed by His love and enlightened by His light.  May you know the joy of knowing Him and being surrounded by your family.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christsmas Eve

Christmas Eve...........the day before the birth of the Christ child.  Joseph and his very pregnant wife had made an arduous journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to comply with the decree issued by Cesear Augustus.  Every man was to report to the town of his heritage, with his entire family, in order to be counted in a census and taxes exacted. 
Somewhat arcane when considered in light of today's census.  Men and women trained by the Federal Government go from house to house to count and list the members of the household.  Some even skip the 'visit' by filing their census forms via the Postal Service.
Can you imagine a woman only days from delivery of her first child being forced to either walk or ride a donkey for some 65-80 miles, depending on the report you get regarding mileage from Nazareth to Bethlehem?  Undoubtedly, she was in labor for at least the end portion of the journey.  I think it highly doubtful that she gave birth the next evening without having been at least in the early stages of labor.
She was alone, except for Joseph.  She had no experience giving birth.  She did not have her mother, or even her mother-in-law.  There was no midwife.  Mary was alone, in pain, in a less than desirable location for giving birth, no sanitary precautions whatsoever.  An inexperienced husband was the only human, other than Mary, in attendance.  She had no clothing for the newborn, only rags ripped into strips to wrap the infant in.
Yet, she faced her circumstances and met their visitors with joy in her heart.  As they came and went, she held closely their words and actions.  They would remain in her heart until the day she watched with pain far greater than birthing pains as her son's life was taken from him; as he was tortured and ridiculed, misunderstood for who he was, why he came and why he now hung on that cross, his life's blood flowing from him.  She then realized his life was not TAKEN, but GIVEN.......freely given because he loved mankind more than they would ever be able to comprehend in this life.
Christmas Eve...........very soon, the world would be forever changed as the King of Glory left his heavenly throne to dwell in the body of that precious baby Jesus.  Mankind's only hope lay in that manger, wrapped in strips of rags and totally adored by his  dear Mother and the man who chose to be his Father when walking away would have been the easy choice.

Choice.............now there's a word for today.  Come back on Christmas Day to consider C-H-O-I-C-E.......
At that time the Roman emperor,
Augustus, decreed that a census
should be taken throughout the Roman Empire.
(This was the first census taken
when Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
All returned to their own ancestral towns
to register for this census.
And because Joseph was a
descendant of King David,
he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea,
David’s ancient home.
He traveled there from the
village of Nazareth in Galilee.
He took with him Mary, his fiancée,
who was now obviously pregnant.
Luke 2: 1-5    (NLT)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

His Names Will Be.....

The Nativity Set passed down to me by my Mother-In-Law.

A child has been born for us.
We have been given a son
who will be our ruler.
His names will be
Wonderful Advisor
and Mighty God,
Eternal Father
and Prince of Peace.
           His power will never end;
peace will last forever.
He will rule David’s kingdom
and make it grow strong.
He will always rule
with honesty and justice.
The Lord All-Powerful
will make certain
that all of this is done.
Isaiah 9: 6-7   (NLT)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Emmanuel.....God with us

O Come, O Come Emmanuel by Aaron Shust

(Please click on the link above to see
and hear the video.)

 Behold, a virgin shall be with child,
and shall bring forth a son,
and they shall call his name Emmanuel,
which being interpreted is,
God with us.
Matthew 1: 23   (KJV)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Let Heaven and Nature Sing!


These are the times that try men's souls............a quotation from Thomas Paine on December 23, 1776.  Mr. Paine, of course, used the phrase in a much different setting than I.  However, it is a good quote and applies to so many situations.

Christmas has always been my favorite time of year.  Even though we never had children to enjoy here, we made a big deal of Christmas.  We worked with the kids in our church, we participated in the plays, skits, whatever we could to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Terry loved Christmas.  He loved the decorating, baking, cooking, wrapping gifts...but NOT the shopping!  That was my forte.  Now, with him in heaven and me alone here, some of the lustre has worn off, it seems.

I participate in my church, I shop, I decorate, I bake a bit and cook even less.  The wrapping is now my chore alone.  His presence is missing; half of me remains a gaping hole with seemingly no real healing.  Yes, at times it's feels better, as though some healing has begun.  Then, something from nowhere hits and the wound is fresh again.  What a roller coaster ride!

Last year, for the first time in my life, I actively celebrated Advent.  I had no idea how to do it since I'd never been introduced to it in my church.  I Googled it (what WOULD we do without Google?) and made a somewhat half-hearted effort.

This year, I built upon what I had learned last year and have had a quite fulfilling experience.  Beginning on Dec. 1, I read my daily Bible passages and lit my candles.  It has been such a great blessing in my life.  It has helped me keep my focus on what I have instead of what I've lost.

The decorating has been more fun this year.  Two of my grand-nieces spent the night and helped me bake a cake and do some other food preparation.  Their laughter filled my house for several hours.  We sat together for my Advent focus; we talked about baby Jesus and all He means to us; what He did for us.

I never cease to be amazed at what little ones can understand if they're given the opportunity.  They are 30 months and 70 months (2-1/2 and nearly 6) and astonish me with their open-hearted acceptance of everything I say to them as absolute truth.  I had forgotten that.

So, Christmas once again brings me joy, real joy.  The kind of joy that permeates my heart and soul, that shines from within me and lights my way as I go.  THIS is what Christmas really is....the joy of Jesus Christ and all that His coming made available to us.  Joy to the world, the Lord is come.....Let heaven and nature sing!!!!

That night there were shepherds
 staying in the fields nearby,
guarding their flocks of sheep.
Suddenly, an angel of the Lord
appeared among them,
and the radiance of the Lord’s glory
 surrounded them. They were terrified,
but the angel reassured them.
“Don’t be afraid!” he said.
“I bring you good news
that will bring great joy to all people.
The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—
has been born today in Bethlehem,
the city of David!
And you will recognize him
by this sign: You will find a baby
wrapped snugly in strips of cloth,
lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, the angel was joined
by a vast host of others—
the armies of heaven—
praising God and saying,
 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth
to those with whom God is pleased.”
  When the angels had returned
to heaven, the shepherds said
to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem!
Let’s see this thing that has happened,
which the Lord has told us about.”
 They hurried to the village
and found Mary and Joseph.
And there was the baby,
lying in the manger.
After seeing him, the shepherds
told everyone what had happened
and what the angel had said
to them about this child.
All who heard the shepherds’ story
were astonished, but Mary
kept all these things in her heart
and thought about them often.
 The shepherds went back
to their flocks, glorifying and
praising God for all they had heard and seen.
It was just as the angel had told them.
Luke 2: 8 - 20    (NLT)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Memorable Moments.......

My last Christmas card from Daddy.
Daddy's last Christmas with us was celebrated on New Year's Day, 2011.  He had been sick and hospitalized from Christmas Eve, 2010 until Dec. 30, 2010.  I stayed with him at the hospital so my sisters could have Christmas with their families.  They all stopped by at varying times throughout that Christmas Day.  Daddy was so sick that it was difficult for him to enjoy their visits.

It was during that hospitalization that we decided it was time to introduce Hospice into his care plan.  The coordinator met with he and I before he was discharged and then came to my house to meet with us and my sisters.  Daddy was not at all happy about having Hospice involved.  He was very sick but not yet ready to accept the inevitable outcome.

As the year advanced, he became more ill and began to settle in to the fact that he would soon be going home.  The closer he got, the more peaceful he became.  He was eager to see his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren at every opportunity.  Going to church became too much strain on him.  The inability to attend church caused him to become somewhat depressed.

On Sept. 20, 2011 Daddy went home.  He was peaceful and knew us up until the last few hours of his life.  He closed his eyes and rested as he awaited the Lord's call.  When that call came, he slipped quietly and peacefully into his eternal rest with the Lord.  I can only imagine the joy as he met Jesus and the rapture of seeing Momma again.

I couldn't believe I still had the money.  I have to find some way to
spend it to make it a more permanent memory
and something that can be passed
down to one of the grands or greats.

On that last Christmas celebration, he wanted to give us each a gift.  He sent me to the bank to withdraw the money and had me put it in money gift cards for each one, even the smallest of the greats.  He had me write a message in each card saying that he loved each individual and wishing them a Merry Christmas.  He gave a small gift to each daughter, SIL, grandchild and great-grandchild.

As I was going through my 'card drawer' this year, I found the card I had written and stuffed for myself.  I had forgotten it was there.  He would not allow me to put my money away.  He insisted that
I must have a card too!  Still stuffed inside the little card was the $20 bill he had given me.  I stood holding it in my hand, remembering the joy with which he gave his gift; the love that shone on his face as he watched everyone open their envelope.

Daddy gave me much more expensive gifts in my lifetime, much more elaborate.  None will ever mean more to me than that $20 bill.  He knew he was soon going home; he left us with that token of his love for us.  A Daddy who loved us, who prayed for us, who loved our Momma so deeply and was so dedicated to her, who took us to church every week, who tried to live his Christianity the best he knew how.........those are the real gifts Daddy gave us. 

Oh, but how I love to caress that $20 bill and know he went home still thinking of us and giving to us.  I have to make a point to purchase something with that money that is a more permanent memory, something that can be passed to one of the grands or greats.

“Honor your father and mother.”
This is the first commandment
with a promise:
If you honor your father and mother,
“things will go well for you,
 and you will have a long life on the earth.”
Ephesians 6:2-3  (NLT)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

King Size Bed

The first King Size Bed.....

And I am convinced that nothing
can ever separate us from God’s love.
Neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither our fears for today
nor our worries about tomorrow—
not even the powers of hell
can separate us from God’s love.
No power in the sky above
or in the earth below—
indeed, nothing in all creation
will ever be able to separate us
from the love of God
that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39   (NLT)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Consider The Lilies.............

Consider The Lilies

Consider the lilies,
they don’t toil nor spin
And there’s not a king

with more splendor than them.
Consider the sparrows,

they don’t plant nor sow,
But they’re fed by the Master

who watches them grow.

Repeat Chorus

We have a Heavenly Father above
With eyes so full of mercy
And a heart full of love.
He really cares when
Your head is bowed low.
Consider the lilies

and then you will know.

May I introduce you

to this friend of mine,
Who hangs out the stars

and tells the sun when to shine.
He kisses the flowers

each morning with dew,
But He’s not too busy

to care about you.

Repeat Chorus

We have a Heavenly Father above
With eyes full of mercy
And a heart full of love.
He really cares when
Your head is bowed low.
Consider the lilies

and then you will know.
Yes, consider the lilies

and then you will know.

Lyrics by:  Joel Hemphill

OK, so I know all of the flowers depicted are not lilies; they're for effect.  Have you ever seen anything more beautiful than colorful fields or gardens with numerous varieties of flowers?  I'm absolutely no good at growing things; I may very well be the original brown-thumbed gal!  However, I certainly appreciate those who can and no one does it better than the Lord!

This song was very popular among Southern Gospel artists when I was younger.  Written by Joel Hemphill in 1977, it addressed the topic of worry by relating it to the teahing of Jesus in Matthew and Luke.  I don't necessarily enjoy that style of music, but I really like the lyrics of this song.

I have had a lot on my heart lately.  My mother-in-love is sick and getting weaker.  I have issues within my family that are conspiring to cause us to be facing Christmas without having our traditional family gathering.  I am angry and hurt because a couple of our family members have decided to live as though they have no faults and refuse to have Christmas as a family because they can't see their own sin as the same in God's sight as those whom they refuse to spend time with.

My youngest nephew is being deployed to Afghanistan next summer for at least 15 months.  This will be our last Christmas together until he returns.  And let's face it, there are no guarantees he will return.  Momma and Daddy would be rolling over in their graves if they were aware of what is happening in their family.  I fail to understand what one believes themselves to be accomplishing by separating themselves from their family.  Of course, there is a third family member involved here who is living in open sexual immorality, but he's not the first family member to do that.

While reading my Bible this morning and meditating on His word,  these verses kept coming into my mind.  No matter what the people you love are involved in, they remain your family.  Why is it so difficult for individuals who claim the name of Jesus Christ as their Savior to spend time with other family members.  I know the third family member is living in open sin; don't we all?  I wish I could say there has been at least one day in my life that I lived a sinless day.  Unfortunately, I cannot say that; I highly doubt any of them can either.

Reading these verses reminded me that God is in control.  I don't have to fret over this family situation; I can release it to Him and trust Him to work through His children to bring this to resolution.  If I sit and worry over it or lose sleep because of it, I still haven't changed one thing other than I'm worn out for taking on responsibility for something I have no ownership in.

Thank you, Jesus, for reminding me........I needed that!

Can worry make you live longer?   
If you don’t have power over small things,
why worry about everything else?
 Look how the wild flowers grow!
They don’t work hard to make their clothes.
But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth
wasn’t as well clothed as one of these flowers. 
God gives such beauty
to everything that grows in the fields,
even though it is here today
and thrown into a fire tomorrow.
Won’t he do even more for you?
You have such little faith!
Luke 12:25-28   (CEV)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Fire Burns Within....

But if I say I’ll never mention the Lord
or speak in his name,
his word burns in my heart like a fire.
It’s like a fire in my bones!
I am worn out trying to hold it in!
I can’t do it!
Jeremiah 20:9   (NLT)
Precious Lord, thank you for hiding your word in my heart, for continually stoking a fire that burns deeply within, that won't allow me to forget you or to walk away from your love and the plans you have for my life.  Help me to serve you all the days of my life; to give you my all and walk in your paths with my whole heart.  In the name of Jesus these things I ask............AMEN

Wednesday, November 28, 2012



Belonging.....what does that mean to you?  I have struggled for my entire life trying to figure that one out.  I was a chubby child and was always being put on one diet or the other by my Momma.  I have always had strong opinions, but wasn't secure enough in who I am to express my opinions.  I struggle with feeling 'good' enough or  'smart' enough or 'important' enough.............ENOUGH!

I accepted Jesus at the age of eleven.  I thought I would instantly change into this confident child who would no longer struggle with so many issues.  Unfortunately, the things that happened to me along the way didn't boost my self-esteem, rather they conspired to make it even worse.

I met and married a wonderfully imperfect man who loved me perfectly.  Now, surely I would have 'it', that elusive 'it' that would make me feel as if I belonged.  Again, it didn't happen.  I was totally comfortable with him, had no qualms about making my point decisively with him!  I was semi-confident with my immediate family.  Outside of that very small circle, I was never 'me' because I didn't know who 'me' was.

Me with my biological sisters
Smoky Mtn. Sister Vacation
April, 2012

I was constantly changing myself, my beliefs, my way of being in this world.  I thought I would change enough to finally find 'me' and live confidently.  It did not happen.  I needed acceptance so much that I would make myself over into whatever image seemed acceptable at the time.  I lived behind an elaborate facade.  My poor husband didn't know who would be awaiting his return at the end of the day.  He often told me I could 'flip' my personality quicker than the blink of an eye.

I didn't have a personality disorder.  I was always in control of that, but too insecure to assert myself.  I didn't like 'me'.  I didn't want to stand out, I wanted to shrink into the woodwork.  The real dichotomy is that I had (have) such a LOUD personality.  I continue to struggle with that.  It made no sense to me that I hated being in the spotlight, but I was so aggressive that the spotlight was exactly where I ended up.  I was (am) very dramatic.

Then, God rained his mercy on me by bringing a group of women into my life that have changed me forever.  The Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf..............they love me like Momma, Daddy and my sisters loved me.  They love me like my husband loved me............unconditionally with no judgement. 

My 'other' sisters!

When I'm with these women, I can speak my mind and they understand.  They support me with that same type of acceptance as those closest to my heart always have.  With these women, I BELONG.  They accept my dramatic personality and love me anyway.  When I agree with them AND when I disagree with them, they just love me.  I no longer feel the need to be aggressive.  Assertiveness carries my message and they accept me WITH my message.

So, now I have these two wonderful biological sisters who love me AND these sisters of my heart who love me as does my family.  Their love and acceptance has helped me find myself in the Lord.  After the death of my parents and my husband, I feared I would be forever lonely.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  The love of all these sisters, both biological and heart sisters, in my life has opened me up.  My heart loves more freely because of their loving acceptance.

In my 55 years of being on this earth, I now know I BELONG.  God always sends what I need the most when I need it the most.  I wish I had accepted that fact earlier in my walk with Him.  I wish I had sought Jesus more personally instead of blaming others for my lack of understanding of God and who He is and how He loves me.

Belonging...............what a wonderful feeling!

And this same God who takes care of me
will supply all your needs from his glorious riches,
which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
 Now all glory to God our Father
forever and ever! Amen.
Philippians 4:19-20   (NLT)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Showers of Blessing.......With A Catch

There shall be showers of blessing............

The Lord will open up the heavens.
That’s where he stores his riches.
He will send rain on your land
at just the right time.
He’ll bless everything you do.
You will lend money to many nations.
But you won’t have to borrow
from any of them.
The Lord your God
will make you leaders, not followers.
Pay attention to his commands
that I’m giving you today.
Be careful to follow them.
Then you will always be on top.
You will never be on the bottom.
And, here's the catch............we must follow his commands and not turn away.  The blessings are ours, but only when we obey him.
Don’t turn away
from any of the commands
I’m giving you today.
Don’t turn to the right or the left.
Don’t follow other gods.
Don’t worship them.
Deuteronomy 28:12-14  (NIRV)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Black Friday

Yesterday was, depending upon your viewpoint, either celebrated as a day of bargain shopping, endured as a day of hoping to find a bargain AND purchase it without mortal injury to your person or enjoyed as a day of relaxation after the large gatherings of Thanksgiving and enjoying the leftovers of said gatherings. 
Black Friday, so named because it is supposedly the day during which retail businesses' profits finally flip over into the black side of the ledger, finally actually show a profit for the year.  Frankly, I'm not convinced of that, but I digress.
For me, it was actually neither.  I didn't celebrate anything, I wasn't about to endure the frenzy at the stores and I didn't have leftovers.  Instead, I passed my day reflecting on how we can go from being so "thankful" and "family-centric" during the earlier hours of the day to the hoopla and frenzy of all that shopping before the day is even over.
We must be, in some manner, mentally incapacitated.  How do we reconcile one extreme with the other, and all within a 24-hour period of time?  It seems somehow wrong to me.  But, I'm no judge.
Of this one fact I am sure, as the image depicts, there was a Black Friday when the balances of eternity hung between heaven and earth.  The God of the universe looked down from heaven as His Son hung on a cross, suffering an horrific death.  A sacrifice so freely made that it boggles one's mind to imagine that this man would actually go through with it.
Yet there he hung, this God-Man who had the power and authority to call the angelic armies of heaven to his rescue.  He did not.  He hung there, suffering, bleeding and dying for each and every human being from Adam to the last individual to be born before eternity begins.  As surely as he did it for all humanity, he would have as willingly done so for any one of us.  Just one.........
From all human perspective it was, indeed, a Black Friday.  Yet from the heavenly perspective, it was the fulfillment of every promise God had ever made to humankind.  That Black Friday changed everything.  Did it change anything for you?  I pray it did.  If it has not, it still can.  You need only to invite that man who died on that cross to reside within your heart, to forgive your sin and empower you to walk with Him.
Just something to reflect on......
“For God loved the world so much
that he gave his one and only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him
will not perish but have eternal life.
God sent his Son into the world
not to judge the world,
but to save the world through him.
“There is no judgment against anyone
who believes in him.
But anyone who does not believe
in him has already been judged
for not believing
in God’s one and only Son.
And the judgment is based on this fact:
God’s light came into the world,
but people loved the darkness
more than the light,
for their actions were evil.
All who do evil hate the light
and refuse to go near it
for fear their sins will be exposed.
But those who do what is right
come to the light
so others can see
that they are doing what God wants.”
John 3: 16-21   (NLT)

Friday, November 23, 2012

55 --- Caressed In Love

Baby Di

Yesterday, I joined the 55 Club....yes, I am now 55 years young.  For some reason, I expected 55 to feel different than this.  Then again, I'm not quite sure what I expected it to feel like?  I told my sister that I didn't feel 55, that my mind still feels 16.  She said "I don't know, I think my mind has caught up with my body"!

I know I must be the oddest individual on earth, but when I walked outside yesterday morning and saw the fog laying deep and thick over the pastures and forests; it gave my heart a lift.  You see, strange!

I like thunderstorms.... I like lightning storms.... I like gloomy, rainy days, and I like deep, heavy fog...too fruity for a salad, I’m tellin’ ya!


When I saw the fog, I couldn’t help but think that the Lord was laying just that deep and heavy in my spirit….heavy, not in a bad way, but heavy in a comforting, holding-me-close, caressing me kind of way.
I still feel 16 when I listen to 70s music and think about those early years with my then boyfriend.  I can hear the 8-track blasting Lynard Skynard, soothing me with Jim Croce or waxing nostalgic with John Denver.  I can hear the roaring of his car engine as we drove down those country lanes.  I hear the sound of his voice "singing" (quotation marks are for emphasis since he couldn't actually "sing") those songs as he drove and drummed the steering wheel or the dashboard.  I hear the sound of our laughter and our easy banter as we came to know each other and then as we found ourselves falling in love.

August, 1974

Those are beautiful memories.  Suddenly, I'm no longer the girl of 16 but the young woman in my 30s and the music has changed, but the boyfriend has now been my husband for about 15 years.  He still "sings" to me, we even dance around the living room every now and again.  We laugh, we cry, we dream....we're still falling in love.

 More beautiful memories.  Now, I've moved forward to the middle-aged woman of my 40s.  Our lives have changed so much; he suffers chronic pain and the laughter is often dimmed by the endless pain.  His eyes still laugh, he smiles, he "sings" but we no longer dance.  We sit together, thankful to still have the privilege to do so.  We talk about the dreams that didn't come true and the dreams we've exchanged them for.  We're still falling in love.

June, 1995
Our 20th Anniversary Party

Precious memories.  From the middle-aged woman of my 40s I now see in my mind's eye the woman of 51.  He is dying.  There's not much time left....exactly 65 days from my 51st birthday, he crosses the river and rests in eternity.  I sit beside his bed and hold his hand in mine.  I caress his face and kiss him one last time.  There are no more dreams, only memories of how we lived them.  From the day we met when I was 15-1/2 until the day he crossed over, we were falling in love.

March 8, 2008

It's now 4 years since that birthday, the last birthday I shared with him.  The memories are bittersweet but the realities are more precious than any dream could ever be.  The love we built now lives in eternity.....and I go on.  From the moment I met him, I knew I would love him forever.  I was right.  From my 16th birthday until my 51st birthday, he shared each one with me.  He held me in his arms, squeezed me to him, kissed the top of my head and said "I love you punkin', more every birthday".  We were falling in love.

Earlier this month.....it is what it is!

Yep, watching that fog laying in over the hollows felt like the Lord was wrapping me in His arms and holding me close because He knows how much I needed to feel that on my birthday.  I will never get over how much God loves me!  How He goes to great lengths just to give me little moments of pure joy.  Now you tell me, why would anyone want to turn away a God like that?

For I assisted the poor in their need
and the orphans who required help.
I helped those without hope,
and they blessed me.
And I caused the widows’ hearts
to sing for joy.
Everything I did was honest.
Righteousness covered me like a robe,
and I wore justice like a turban.
Job 29:12-14  (NLT)