Monday, September 28, 2009


The Cross . . . a good place to rest!

A good place to rest . . . when we lay our sins at the foot of the cross . . . and leave them there . . . and His blood covers them all.

A good place to rest . . . as we lay down our heavy burdens of worry, care, confusion, discouragement . . . and leave them there.

A good place to rest . . . because The One who hung there . . . paid the ultimate price that we might live the abundant life.

And it's a good place to rest . . . because The One who died there on Friday knew that Sunday was a'comin' . . . giving us eternal life!

It was enough then . . . it is enough now!

"My faith has found a resting place - not in device or creed;
I trust the ever-living One - His wounds for me shall plead.
I need no other argument; I need no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tiny Beauties, Big Hearts

I could spend hours watching and photographing the tiny, but oh-so-beautiful hummingbird! The past two days I've done just that! Their delicate beauty and their fascinating antics never cease to amaze me. Today, I held one of the feeders in my hand as busy hummers buzzed and darted all around me! One brave little beauty warmed up to me fast, perched on the feeder that I was holding and licked out the red liquid with its long, forked tongue! If only I could have held the feeder and the camera for that close-up shot! Amazing!!

Did you know that the ruby-throated hummer like the one pictured above flies non-stop for 20 hours across the Gulf of Mexico when migrating and only after doubling its body weight? That is just one fascinating fact about these smallest of birds. And I learned a new fact about the hummer today: its heart, in proportion to its body, is the largest of any living creature and makes up about 20% of its body volume. So, not only is the little bird beautiful and intriguing, but it is also big-hearted!

Those words . . . big hearted . . . remind me of some people I know personally and some that I've only heard about. Who are they? They are the folks who give and expect nothing in return . . . those who do good deeds anonymously . . . those who aren't concerned about who gets the credit for a job well done. Big-hearted people aren't prejudiced nor judgmental . . . they genuinely care about others . . . share their blessings with others . . . go the second mile and beyond. A person with a big heart has a servant heart, a generous and forgiving spirit, and an open mind. A big-hearted person is like Jesus! And that makes him/her beautiful . . . from the inside out!

"Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me . . . "

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Family Circle

Thaxton family joins hands for prayer on PawPaw's 90th birthday
"We have these moments to hold in our hands . . . "

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Rest

It's been a good Labor Day! Nothing spectacular happened, but in a quiet, restful way, the day has been meaningful and pleasant. Since last night this line of an old hymn has been on my mind: There is a place of quiet rest - near to the heart of God. How fitting for this day set aside for rest and relaxation!

Most of the day, I've been alone, and so I've had quiet time to reflect and draw near to the heart of God. I enjoyed taking lunch to John David and his dad. (John David spent the day doing something he loves: bush-hogging on his old stomping-grounds.) The drive down to Pawpaw's and back was relaxing as I listened to Enlighten radio. The songs spoke to my heart, and I was specifically reassured that God is hearing my prayers and that He is at work even when I don't see that He is. That truth brings peace and calmness like nothing else can. On second thought, something pretty spectacular did happen today!!

Just as we need rest from jobs and the stresses of everyday life, our souls need to just "be still and know that He is God." I'm thankful for God's patience with me when I allow life to close in around me. He loves me just the same then, but as Max Lucado says: He loves me too much to let me stay that way. It's an amazing thing to know that God wants to spend time with me and that He's just waiting with an offer of peace and inner rest.

Tomorrow I will be "on the go" again. Yes, retired folks are busy, too!! However busy the day gets, I want to remain at rest in my spirit and soul. The only way I can do that is to stay near His great big, loving heart! There's plenty of room there for all of us!

"There is a place of comfort sweet - near to the heart of God. . . "

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Steps of a Good Man

I've called him father-in-law for 37 years now, and my respect and admiration for him have grown with each passing year. Evon Richmond Thaxton is indeed a giant of a man in my eyes! He is an example of what the patriarch of a family should be: committed to God and his loved ones, unselfish, steadfast, faithful, and wise. His wisdom does not come from having a college degree, but it comes from 90 well-lived years of experiences, both good and bad. More importantly, he is wise because he has walked close to The Teacher.

His life has been an open book and has taught me and countless others much about "the steps of a good man." I've listened in amazement as he told us about the hard times . . . trying to eke out a living after his daddy died . . . trying just to survive and support the family when jobs and food were scarce . . . walking miles and miles to get to and from a job . . . living on one 5-cent peanut patty per day . . . coming so close to death when his appendix ruptured . . . watching over a sick or injured child . . . losing a beloved grandson . . . and the list goes on and on. I can't imagine his feelings the day he learned that his wife had cancer. He faithfully, and with great inner strength, stood beside her as she bravely battled the horrible disease that eventually took her life. But the steps of this good man never faltered; they stayed on course . . . steady . . . one foot ahead of the other . . . not turning to the right or left. I'm sure he often wondered where the next step would take him, but he always knew Someone walked beside him.

Even though life has taken him through many deep valleys and up steep, rugged hills, I've never once heard him complain about those difficult times or blame God for them. He simply has taken and continues to take one step at a time and with God's help, he deals with circumstances head on. "He took it like a man" is more than just a cliche; it so aptly describes PawPaw, as I have come to call him.

He's told us about hard times, but with a grin on his face, he's also recounted so many light-hearted, tickle-your-funny-bone-stories, too. Sitting around the kitchen table with him, we've often listened to his tales of the past and later wished we'd recorded his wit, wisdom, and family history. What a sharp memory God has blessed him with! We've laughed at the antics of him and his eleven siblings, especially those involving Leon! Recalling humorous incidents involving his own eight children has often prompted many good laughs. And it's mind-boggling to hear him tell of all the changes he's seen and experienced in his long life. Our appreciation for his heroes - Uncle Clarence, Uncle Aza, Mr. Roy, some of Cenchrea's pastors, and others - has heightened as he's shared stories of their exemplary lives. Without a doubt, he's taught us that although the steps of a good man may lead him through trials and tragedies, there's so much more to smile about and to be thankful for.

I am so very thankful that God placed me in his family and that I - and our sons and now our grandchildren - have been able to learn valuable life lessons from his example. And we are still learning every time we are with him! I'm sure he's not aware that he's taught us that . . . the simple life is the best life . . . a real man takes care of his family . . . hard work really never hurt anyone . . . a man's word should be dependable . . . family is a gift from God and is to be cherished . . . being rich in this life has little to do with money . . . loving your neighbor is not an option . . . fads and fashions come and go but The Truth never changes . . . there's more to Life than the things we get so wrapped up in . . . and last but not least: "A good man's steps are ordered of the Lord."

Thanks, PawPaw! I couldn't have asked for a better teacher - or a more wonderful father-in-law! I love you!
"Happy Birthday to you . . . Happy Birthday to you . . . Happy Birthday; God bless you! . . . Happy Birthday to you!!"

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Family Tides . . . The Ebb and Flow

Most of the time, life for us as a retired couple is fairly quiet even though we stay busy. The "ebb times" . . . slow-paced . . . routine but not boring . . . are good for the body and the soul! During those times, I can barely hear the gentle waves lapping at my feet. But I wouldn't want life to be all ebb and no flow! Even the sound of the breakers crashing on the shore can be music to the ears! Reminds me of a recent memory-making trip with our youngest GRANDson to Hot Springs. What fun we had seeing the sights and experiencing the attractions through his eyes . . . one wave after another! This past weekend the tide again picked up speed and gusto, and that, too, was a good thing!

Our special weekend began when we picked up the Virginia Thaxtons at the airport late Friday night. How exciting to see them get off the plane and hear the kids' stories of their first plane ride! Our house came alive with laughter, animated conversation, and fun times. Suddenly, the house seemed awfully small . . . but closeness is a good thing - for a while, anyway! There's nothing quite like having GRANDkids - and their parents - in the house! And, all of us were especially excited about PawPaw's 90th birthday party on Sunday.

On Sunday afternoon we gathered at PawPaw's church in that peaceful piece of woods that he's called home all these years. The beautiful country church's fellowship hall almost burst at the seams as our family and friends celebrated the life of the patriarch of our family. (I plan to write more about him later; he deserves a separate post!) The day was a perfect one for us since all ten of our immediate family members were there, a rare occasion for us. The afternnon was filled with reminiscing, picture-taking, laughter, good food, and tributes to a surprised PawPaw. It was definitely a "high tide" time!

Back here at our house, we continued to enjoy relaxed family time that passed all too quickly! Even though we tried to pack as many good times as possible into a short weekend, the tides began to recede. But I've come to accept that part of life, too. Do I like saying good-byes? No . . . a thousand times "No!" Knowing that life is made up of ebbs and flows controlled by the Master of the Tides makes it easier and bearable, though. Having the Deville Thaxtons fairly close helps, too!

Now, the waves are completely still. The house is oh-so-quiet and seems to have expanded overnight! But the cycle of our lives goes on . . . steady . . . purposeful . . . joyful . . . blessed . . . extremely blessed . . . and anticipating the next high tide!

"There's within my heart a melody; Jesus whispers sweet and low,
'Fear not I am with thee. Peace; be still - in all of life's ebb and flow' . . . "