Friday, April 29, 2011

A Work in Progress

This pic, which I snapped from my front porch, says so much about the activity here (in Louisiana, Ginny). Workers from several states are in our area trying to get power on for so many of us. We still don't have power, but we are OK. Slowly, progress is being made, and many homes do now have electricity.

We are continuing to work in our yard, and John David was able to replace the shingles that were blown off. It will take quite a while to clean up everything, but that's OK! We're alive and our house is standing. No lives were lost; we've not heard of any injuries! AMAZING . . . when you see mangled trees strewn across yards, the woods, and across many roads.

I want to thank all of my blogger friends for your kind and caring words - and for your prayers. I won't be able to thank each of you personally, but I really appreciate every comment. Please continue to pray for those in Alabama who've lost so much.

God is good . . . in the good times and in the bad times . . . when things are calm and everything is in its place . . . and when "normal" is suddenly swept away. It's comforting to know that His eyes never leave us . . . and our Rock never moves!

The Lord's our Rock; in Him we hide -
A shelter in the time of storm.
Secure whatever ill betide,
A shelter in the time of storm.

The raging storms may round us beat -
A shelter in the time of storm.
We'll never leave our safe retreat,
A shelter in the time of storm.
Lyrics by Ira Sankey~

Thursday, April 28, 2011

"Stuff" is so temporary . . .

You've seen my roses, which we planted in front of a portable storage shed.

At one end of the bed, I placed potted plants around an old well to hide its ugliness. I was enjoying the beauty of it all . . .
Until this happened early Wednesday morning about 1:00 . . .
A tornado hasn't been confirmed here, but I'm sure that's what we experienced. It was so very scary! We hovered in a tiny closet and prayed . . . I prayed right out loud as unbelievable winds roared and things hit the house. But God was with us in a miraculous way. John David and I are safe, and the only damage to our house is missing shingles. The portable buildings didn't fare so well, as you can see. My crushed rose bushes are now under the mangled aluminum building, and trees and limbs and debris cover most of our yard. Of course, we lost power, which won't be recovered for some time.

We are so thankful for family and friends who came to our rescue in many ways. Progress is slow, but as you can see below, things are looking better. I know losing the big old oak is trivial compared to what's happened in Alabama - I DO realize that - but it's kinda' like losing an old friend. And it was the only shade on that side of the house. It stood tall just a few feet from our back door, so it was a miracle that it fell away from our house.

My heart goes out to those in Alabama - and other places - who've lost loved ones and all their earthly possessions. Aren't you glad that if we know Him, we can have hope in the midst of unspeakable tragedy?

I realize more than ever that "stuff" is so temporary and can be destroyed in the blink of an eye. I don't want to be too attached to my "stuff"! With God's help I want to keep my focus on the goal . . . on things that are eternal.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Morning Comes

(Photo taken in 2010)

Our Easter morning began early - 5:00 to be exact. We had coffee and drove a few miles down the road to a hilltop farm/ranch where I spent many happy hours growing up. Uncle Younger and Aunt Rena Mae were like second parents to me, and I miss them. If they were looking down on us yesterday, I'm sure they were pleased at what they saw and heard.

Arriving in the dark moments before morning, we carried our lawn chairs into the pasture and joined others who had come to celebrate His resurrection. Our chairs facing the eastern skies, we prayed, we sang, and we remembered that first Easter morning - when morning came and mourning departed. Then Came the Morning, a song that means so very much to me, played on a battery-operated boom box and we sang along . . . and we watched as morning light replaced the darkness. A tinge of pink began to color the eastern sky. A cool breeze blew across the pasture, and the presence of our Risen Saviour swept across our hearts . . . the perfect beginning for an Easter morning!

That was enough encouragement and promise and hope, but God, who knows exactly where we are, added more assurance. It was an amazing "God moment"! As we pulled onto the highway, I turned up the radio - which I always have tuned to XM Enlighten. You wanna' guess what song was playing? You got it . . . and I GOT it:
Then came the morning; night turned into day.
The stone was rolled away; hope rose with the dawn.
Then came the morning; shadows vanished before the sun.
Death had lost and Life had won, for morning had come.
It is a morning I'll always remember and revisit when I'm tempted to give up in the dark times. Morning always follows the night, no matter how long that night may seem. The Risen Jesus is a God of mornings! He's not a God of coincidences, so it didn't "just happen" that I read these words from Our Daily Bread this morning:
"If you believe that the Son of God died and rose again," writes George MacDonald, "your whole future is full of the dawn of eternal morning, coming up beyond the hills of life, and full of such hope as the highest imagination for the poet has not a glimmer yet." . . . Since we have this life and the next, we don't have to "have it all" now. We can live in broken and ruined bodies for a time; we can endure poverty and hardship for a while; we can face loneliness , heartache and pain for a season. Why? There is a second birth -- life in heaven forever.
~David Roper~

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bed of Roses

Life is like a rose garden.

Watch for the thorns and keep the pest dust handy.


(This pic shows my roses with their first blooms this year.)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lest I forget . . .

Something to think about . . . from the pen of Max Lucado:

When God entered time and became a man, he who was boundless became bound. Imprisoned in flesh. Restricted by weary-prone muscles and eyelids. For more than three decades, his once limitless reach would be limited to the stretch of an arm, his speed checked to the pace of human feet. . .

Stop and think about this. Not once did Christ use his supernatural powers for personal comfort. With one word he could’ve transformed the hard earth into a soft bed, but he didn’t. With a wave of his hand, he could’ve boomeranged the spit of his accusers back into their faces, but he didn’t. With an arch of his brow, he could’ve paralyzed the hand of the soldier as he braided the crown of thorns. But he didn’t. . .

Want to know the coolest thing about the One who gave up the crown of heaven for a crown of thorns?

He did it for you. Just for you.

~Excerpt from Max Lucado in his book His Name Is Jesus~

King of my life, I crown Thee now;
Thine shall the glory be;
Lest I forget Thy thorn-crowned brow,
Lead me to Calvary.
Lest I forget Gethsemane; lest I forget Thine agony;
Lest I forget Thy love for me,
Lead me to Calvary.
Lead Me to Calvary - Jennie Evelyn Hussey 1874-1958~

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Imperfection is not synonymous with ugliness . . . nor does it imply worthlessness.
Not in God's eyes. I like the words Paul penned in II Corinthians 4, as found in The Message:

If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness.
We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us.
As it is, there's not much chance of that.
You know for yourselves that we're not much to look at.
We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized;
we're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do;
we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side;
we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken.

Even if our pots are cracked, His light can shine through those imperfections, and His beauty can be seen in our ordinary lives.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Unfolding Grace

. . . not a day goes by without his unfolding grace . . .
II Cor. 4:16 The Message~

. . . and it's a beautiful thing!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Life Goes On

This is a purple finch resting atop a bird box . . .

that was meant for the bluebird family . . .

but was seized and claimed by this feisty chickadee and mate.

Sometimes things aren't what they appear to be . . .
or what they are supposed to be . . .

But life goes on!

For the child of God, everything will turn out just fine in the end.
And life will go on forever . . . . . . . . . . . . . and ever!
Just sayin' . . .

Farther along we'll know all about it;
Farther along we'll understand why.
Cheer up, my brother; live in the sunshine.
We'll understand it all bye and bye.
~Lyrics - Farther Along by J.R. Baxter~

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Out on a Limb

Sometimes . . .

you have to . . .

go out on a limb.


But it helps to remember that
are the everlasting arms.

And it helps to remember that
our Perfect Example
out on a limb . . .
way out on a limb. . .
and hung there
and died.

For me.
For you.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Heavenly Sunlight

Our plum tree is loaded with small plums like the one you see above. I took this pic just as the sun was going down, and it was breathtaking . . . heavenly! Slowly sinking out of sight behind the trees, its glowing orange color was extraordinary. I placed myself and the camera in a rather uncomfortable position in an attempt to capture the plum in the center of the sun. Not exactly dead center, but I like the way it turned out!

Just as the plum tree needs the sun to produce its fruit, so do I need the Son to produce fruits of righteousness in my life . . . love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self -control. I can't do it own my own no matter how hard I try; I must place myself in His Light - dead center - letting Him shine down in my heart daily and cleanse that which would produce bad fruit. And I can tell you for sure . . . He's still working on me - and will do so until I stand in His presence! I'm so thankful He doesn't just sever me from the Vine because my patience fruit hasn't matured as it should!

And, oh yes . . . I must accept the painful pruning process, too! But the gentle Gardener knows exactly what I need to grow and mature - even when the pruning seems so harsh to me, and I groan with each touch of the pruning tool. He'll do whatever it takes to keep me in the center of His will so that I can reflect His light.

I like this verse of the old hymn Heavenly Sunlight, which expresses where I want to be:
Shadows around me, shadows above me,
Never conceal my Savior and Guide;
He is the Light; in Him is no darkness.
Ever I'm walking close to His side.
~Henry J. Zelley~