Saturday, December 31, 2016

Finding Joy

FINDING JOY

This is a necklace I received for Christmas.  I love the words "Find joy in the Journey," which is something I really want to do in life.  Chances are you want the same thing.  My most recent book is entitled, "Joy in the Journey," so this necklace is right up my alley with its sentiment.

Not only the words, but the compass that sits alongside the sentiment has meaning.  If we will make God our compass in this new year, He will show us the direction we should follow.  The new year of 2017 that stretches out before us is a total mystery.  None of us can say what is going to happen in the days and months that lie ahead.  There is one, however, who knows every minute on our timetable and every inch along our pathway.  God goes before us, behind us, and alongside us on the journey of life.  His compass is always true.

What a relief and, yes, a joy, to know that He who loves us more than we can even comprehend, wants to help us find joy in the journey of our days through this next year.  He has promised He'll be with us always -- a good reason to feel joy from the git-go.

Let's make those powerful verses in Proverbs the very pulse beat of our lives in 2017:  "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" 3:5-6.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Celebrate the Gift

Celebrate the Gift

Last Sunday morning, our choir performed a beautiful cantata entitled, Celebrate the Gift.  It was such a joy to sing the wonderful words of celebration for Jesus' birth, along with the lovely accompanying melody of the song. 

What a blessing it is to be part of those who belong to this incredible King.  Born in a stable, the lowliest of places, as a tiny, helpless baby, the Son of God brought Himself down to man in the most remarkable way.  Who could ever have imagined such a thing?!  When you really stop to think about what God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit did in that moment of incarnation, you realize it is beyond comprehension.

Being beyond human comprehension is no surprise.  Has God not said in Isaiah 55:8-9:  "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD.  "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."

And so, as we consider this great, incomprehensible gift of a loving, all-knowing God, let us rejoice in thanksgiving and praise and celebrate this most wonderful day.  Blessed be the name of the Lord - and all praise to King Jesus!

With Wishes for a Blessed Christmas to you all!
 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Trips

TRIPS
In the past month, I've gone to North Carolina twice and South Carolina once.  It's been a busy month.  Since I was born in North Carolina and traveled there all through my childhood to visit relatives, it's near and dear to my heart.  And - since some of my kids and grandkids live there, it means I'll continue making trips to that state - probably for the rest of my life.  Here are some highlights from my two recent forays into my birth state:





Just before Thanksgiving, I spent some time with my two oldest grandkids and then brought them back with me for the holidays.  As we passed through the small town of Maysville (I believe it might have two stoplights), I noticed this cool mural.  We stopped and the kids cleverly made themselves a part of the painted scene.  They are so cute!!

During my visit with the kids, we went to a Christmas parade, complete with Marine marching band.  We had good times together.
 
Our next trip to North Carolina, was last week to celebrate Christmas with two of our other grandkids.  We had fun going to museums and opening gifts and spending time together.





We got a kick our of pretending we'd fallen asleep in the time it took my daughter to walk up the stairs to the 3rd floor (she doesn't like elevators and we beat her up from the 1st floor).  Sweet dreams everyone!
 


Friday, December 16, 2016

Christmas Lights

Christmas Lights
Just before Thanksgiving, we took our little bundled up baby for her first walk-through Christmas lights at the Botanical Garden.  The weather was perfect, chilly, but no wind.  They call it the "million bulb lights" and it's only the first two weeks they allow walking through, otherwise, it's cars only.  As you might imagine, walking through allows you to fully immerse yourself in the light show and also travel at a slow pace to get the most out of the display.

It's about a one-mile walk to the end and then back again.  It was fun, our little lady enjoyed our visit and so did Holly and I.  It was a special pre-Christmas treat (:


One of my favorite decorations at Christmas are Christmas trees.  They are beautiful and regal.  Trees have so many spiritual messages attached to their grand heights.  I'm reminded of the tree of life, with its luscious life-giving fruit that once stood in the Garden of Eden.  Then, there's the all-important tree that our Savior was nailed to, whose wood held his body as He paid the price for our sins and died in our place - so that we might eat, so to speak, from the tree of life. 

These lovely Christmas trees are standing tall, displaying their lights in the darkness - glorifying their Creator with all they have to offer.  What a beautiful picture!  Thank you, God, for the message of the trees.



Sunday, December 11, 2016

Even Before...

Psalm 139

I love the verse in Psalm 139 where we're reminded, "Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord" verse 4 NIV.  What a relief to know that God knows our thoughts, our words, and our every need, even before we're aware of it - and, He's gone before us to prepare the way.

That truth was made crystal clear to me during a visit to Colonial Williamsburg on the day after Thanksgiving.  My daughter Sara, sweet grandkids and I planned to spend a few hours wandering along the beautiful, historic area of our first colonial capital.  The weather was beautiful, and apparently, tons of other people had the same idea.  Finding a parking space looked like it was going to be challenging.  Here's where this verse comes into play.

We were just near the end of our first circuit of the full parking lot at Merchant's Square.  We'd quickly come to realize we needed to find someone leaving a space if we hoped to snag one.  As I was just about to finish uttering this sentence, "We need to start praying...." with the words "...for a parking space," we spotted a man walking to his car door - right in front of us.  Sara and I looked at each other and laughed.  Before I even finished my sentence to ask God for a parking space, He'd already sent the man toward his car at the location we'd be at in that moment!   He answered our prayer before we even asked it.

What an amazing heavenly Father we are blessed to belong to.  Sara and I were both delighted, not only because we had a prime parking space open up directly in front of us, but even more so, by the stunning way that God showed us He was right there with us and for us.  He could have waited until we prayed for a space, but He chose to bestow an extra blessing on us by answering our prayer BEFORE we asked it.  I could imagine a holy grin on His face as He witnessed our delight! 

Thank you, my Father.  "How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!  Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand" verses 17-18.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Meeting at Myrtle Beach

We met my sister Ava and her husband in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, recently for a winter golf tournament.  The guys spent their days hitting the links and my sister and I spent our time hitting the stores for some much-needed Christmas shopping.  Join us for a glimpse of our sojourn.

One of our favorite shopping spots in Myrtle Beach is Hamrick's a crowded, packed-in store with lots of stuff you can't seem to get anywhere else - especially for the price.  It's our annual hot-shopping spot.  Add to that, nearly a dozen other stores we visited, you can see we're serious shoppers when we put our minds to it.


Here's a cool view from the balcony of our 15th floor room, looking down Ocean Avenue with the lingering rosy glow of sunset rimming the horizon and a sliver of moon hanging overhead.


Resident seagulls enjoyed a bit of sun and sea on the sandy beach -- just like we did.

I'm a sucker for beautiful sunsets and this one was gorgeous.  I never cease to be amazed at God's wonderful use of color and clouds to create magnificent works of art spread across the sky for all to see.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Chincoteague

More LOVE on the Eastern Shore of Virginia -- this time on Chincoteague Island.  The island has lovely shops and restaurants, and very friendly people.  And, of course, views over the water are great!

In spite of it being November, roses were still blooming in some sheltered spots.  This lovely pink lady greeted us with her delicate beauty as we walked along the shop fronts in the quaint town of Chincoteague. 

We stopped in the museum for NASA's Wallops Flight Facility at Chincoteague.  This E-2 Navy plane was one of many circling the facility, practicing touch-and-go landings on the field below.

Larry was in training as well -- training to be an astronaut on the next space shuttle (not!)

I too opted for a bit of training while we were there.  I think my gear is pretty cool.  Our training was brief (very brief!), but fun.  There's just so much to do on the Eastern Shore!