Friday, November 25, 2022

Give Thanks


Colorful displays of pumpkins always make me think of bountiful fall harvest and the faithfulness of God.  Here we are, just a day after celebrating Thanksgiving.  Many of us were blessed to be surrounded by family and a table laden with a feast of delicious food.  The words of the doxology that we sing each Sunday morning comes to mind:  "Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise Him all creatures here below; praise Him above, ye heavenly host; praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost - amen."

God made a promise in Genesis 8:22:  "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease."  He also tells us, "If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land," Isaiah 1:19.

We have so much to be thankful for and so, I give thanks to my precious heavenly Father, my beloved Savior Jesus Christ, and my dear Indwelling Spirit -- all praise and glory to You who have abundantly blessed us beyond counting!

"Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  For His mercy endures forever," Psalm 136:1

Sunday, November 20, 2022

The Most Magical Place at Disney



    There is so much to do in the Magic Kingdom, so we spent a full day into the night and part of another day there.  You can tell by the way we are dressed that it was a cooler day than we'd had earlier, but then, that's a good thing!  It's fun to share it all with family (:

Some of the cool "fantasy" scenery as we head toward "It's a Small, Small World" ride -- Larry's favorite ride (surprisingly).  Next were, Peter Pan's ride, Winnie the Pooh, and the Seven Dwarfs Railroad roller coaster.  The architecture and attention to detail in these parks are amazing.

The character parade is always colorful and fun!

We all enjoy hamming it up for photos!

Some in our group like to ride exciting Space Mountain - do you think they enjoyed it?
The rest of us rode the more sedate "People Mover" - and we enjoyed that!

One of the beautiful, shiny mosaic pictures inside the castle walk-through tunnel
that has only recently re-opened.  The scenes chronicle Cinderella's story.

I'll end our Disney adventure with fireworks over 
Cinderella's castle - always a beautiful sight!  

I like to include scripture at some point.  Since it was a dark night that was split by these bright fireworks, I thought this verse in Isaiah seemed appropriate:  "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.  You have multiplied the nation and increased its joy; they rejoice before you," 9:2-3.  I thank our Lord for safety and good times during our Florida adventure.  He is indeed the Light of the World and His message of love shines on us no matter where we are!!

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Animal Kingdom & Hollywood Studios



All of us girls are sporting our patriotic Mickey shirts as we stand in warm and steamy Animal Kingdom.  Mount Everest in the background was surely about to melt in the heat.  The scenery there is so wonderfully exotic and offers a nice glimpse of Africa -- and far-away Pandora too.

As the sign says, "Welcome to Harambe - Port of East Africa

The Lion King show is always a hit - so colorful and entertaining.  
And, of course, I LOVE the music!

Then, there's the Tree of Life in Animal Kingdom.  It's covered in cool carvings of all kinds of animals.  I'm reminded of the Tree of Life that was in the Garden of Eden and the more important Tree of Life that we'll someday see when we go to Heaven.  We're told that the Tree of Life grows beside the crystal clear river that flows from God's throne, and that the tree bears twelve fruits in season.  I know we're going to enjoy eating that fruit some day (Revelation 22:1-2).  

And - there is special food just for Animal Kingdom.
This large ice cream filled crunchy chocolate cookie was delicious!!

We mustn't forget Hollywood Studios, where we rode Slinky 
Dog Dash roller coaster in Toy Story land several times.

My favorite part of The Millennial Falcon ride in Star Wars land is this view of all these 
full size storm troopers after the enemy captures the ship.  It's a powerful scene!

Goofy's son Max is teasing Marisa with his fake chicken.  Laurrine (Derek's sister) and Landon find it all very funny.  I think perhaps Goofy is also laughing, but it's hard to tell for sure.  We were in line for the Tower of Terror - one of my favorite rides at Hollywood Studio.

I like this picture of my two youngest grandsons hamming it up in front
of Rockin' Roller Coaster, which they enjoyed riding.
We'll end our visit with Magic Kingdom tomorrow!

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Let's Visit Disney World - Epcot


    The photo above shows our gang who spent time together at the Mouse's House in Florida in October.  We had a great time tramping through the four parks, experiencing many kinds of rides, and eating lots of yummy food!  I hope you'll enjoy a glimpse of our adventures in the next three posts!

One of our favorite, relaxing rides is in Mexico where we float down a stream and view colorful Mexican scenes while listening to music with an over-the-border sound that's fun.

       We had fun on the virtual reality Ratatouille ride in France.  That little rat can sure cook!
But, this ride just happens to be the Guardians of the Galaxy - which to my surprise turned out to be a roller coaster with considerable G-force.  Pretty intense!

Vince and Landon share a giant turkey leg -- a "must" when they visit America at Epcot!

I was pleased with the beautiful nighttime shot I got of the tower in Morocco.  Wandering around the lanes and bazaars in Morocco is one of my favorite things to do in Epcot.  It feels so authentic!

I was excited to be able to watch two performances of the Newsboys as they sang Christian songs the first evening we were at Epcot.  It was such a blessing to be surrounded by so many other Christians as we all sang together songs the Newsboys made famous.  My favorite is "God's Not Dead" - He's surely alive, living on the inside, roaring like a lion -- roaring, roaring!  It was such a joy!!

Then, the finale of the evening at Epcot were the fireworks over the lake.  Beautiful colors exploded across the sky, along with these gorgeous white explosions that make me think of ice and snow.  It was quite a show!  That was the day I walked 24,500 steps!  Needless to say, my legs and feet were tired, but my heart was full (:  Thank you, Lord, for a lovely Day!  "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights..." James 1:17.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Stories in Sand

Stories in Sand

    We recently went to the Virginia Beach Neptune Festival's International Sandsculpture display on the oceanfront.  There were 22 intricately designed sculptures created from sand - each with a different, clever theme.  The one above was my favorite -- sculpted by Meredith and Dan Doubleday from Florida (it won 2nd place in Team category).  It is loaded with detail and meaning.  I'll share some of what I observed - and use the observations to illustrate scripture.
    First, notice at the left corner in the photo above, the story of The Old Woman in the Shoe is cleverly used as one of the bedposts at the foot of the bed.  In the nursery rhyme, the old woman had so many children she didn't know what to do.  Well, we might encourage her not to complain because we're told in Psalm 127:3-4:  "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth."  It's possible. the old woman might not readily agree.
    Next, we have the bedpost on the end of the headboard.  You may not recognize it, but Jack is climbing a beanstalk that wraps around the post, with a small house at the top of the stalk.  Since we know that Jack is in danger from the wicked giant, as he seeks to retrieve what has been stolen from his family, we might encourage him by reminding him that, "The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good," Proverbs 15:3.

    This photo shows the back of the headboard with its detailed carvings in sand.  Humpty Dumpty caught my eye as he balances on top of the headboard.  For such a fragile guy, he has put himself in a rather vulnerable position.  Should he fall and splatter, I'm afraid all the kings men would be unable to put him together again.  Be careful, Humpty!  "The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it," Proverbs 27:12.  Oops!

    On the end of the footboard, we have a dainty sand carving of Little Red Riding Hood and the wily wolf.  Although Little Red was a bit suspicious of the wolf, his smooth words lulled her for a time, but thankfully she caught on to his pretense before it was too late -- and that's a good thing, because we're told in Matthew 7:15, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves."  If you're not careful, they might eat you!

    This sand sculpture has a much more obvious message for us.  The artist is Matt Deibert from New Jersey and he aptly calls it, "Footprints in the Sand."  The concept for his sculpture is taken from the poem written in 1936 by Mary Stevenson.  And here is the corresponding scripture:
    "The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as He did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert.  There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place," Deuteronomy 1:30-31.

 Praise God from whom all blessings flow!


Friday, October 7, 2022

Fall License Plates



    I like to begin my license plate blogs with something vehicle-related.  Here is a cool red truck that you won't be seeing on the highway.  However, if you stop in the new Buc-ees along I-95 in Florence, South Carolina, you'll be able to not only see the truck, but the very large store and the 100+ gas pumps out front.  This location opened in May and is the first Buc-ees in South Carolina.
    In case you're not familiar with Buc-ees, they began in 1982 in Texas, and have slowly expanded into seven states with over 40 locations currently.  They are known for giant stores, all kinds of jerky,  and sooo many gas pumps.  We have been in two of their locations and will say that they also have very tasty sandwiches and bakery items.  They are well-known for their kolaches, both sweet and savory.  These are a Czech pastry and very good!
    The Buc-ees in New Braunfels, Texas, which opened in 2012, holds the distinction of being the largest convenience store in THE WORLD, at 68,000 square feet, with 120 fueling positions, 83 toilets, and 31 cash registers. 
    Now, for my Fall license plates - by some clever people!  Hope they bring you a chuckle or two:

For sports fans:  BTTM 9TH

 Love the God-honoring tags:  4R CHRS  /  GDS GLRY  /  PSL 119  /  FRGVN X7  /  HEAVIN  /  ROMANS 5 (w/ fish on border of license)       

 Must use a Cockney accent for this one:  OGWARTS

Good advice for drivers, as well as daters:  NT2FAS

Not just 1, not just 2, but:  3 MRCLS  - and also -  MRACL3

Animals are well-represented on license plates:  SQRL  /  MUDSHRK  /  DRKFOX

 In Virginia we have a ROGUE, while in North Carolina, the driver is just ROGUISH - 
there IS a difference.

 Is this really how you want to describe yourself??  HOT ME55  /  MRS ZERO  /  SUNBABE /  PRODGY  /  WILDCHILD  /  URHERO

 Location, Location, Location:  VBGRLS  /  BEINDUCK and KDH MP9 (both-NC plates)  / 

 These are just fun:   R2 P2  /  QU3NIE  /    GPERS  /  PIXXEE  /  CAKE IT  / 
P34RL J8M  /   NVR L8T   /   DOOTDOOT   /   FUN WIG  /  DREMSCL

   Ending the post with this friendly license plate:  SEEYA


Friday, September 30, 2022

The Missing Sword

    We were walking along the enjoyable boardwalk in Duck, North Carolina, when we came across this pirate standing behind the corner of a building.  Whether he was hiding in order to accost unsuspecting passersby, or hiding because he was fearful that he couldn't defend himself -- I wasn't sure.  You will notice that something is missing that's very important to a pirate -- did you spot it?
    Of course, his sword is missing from its hilt.  A hilt without the other end of the sword is pretty useless and I'm not sure why Mr. Pirate is still holding onto it.  Perhaps he doesn't even realize that his sword is missing!  Is that even possible?

    Yeah, I think it's possible that a person might not even realize that his or her sword is no longer attached to its hilt.  This reminds me of Christians who still think they have a good grasp on their faith, but they've let the real weapon that gave them power break away -- and they seem to be unaware that it's gone.  And what is the spiritual weapon I'm referring to?  It's the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God," Ephesians 6:17.  The Holy Bible -- God's very words lovingly written in a long, detailed letter to His creation. 

    The sword of the Bible is a real weapon -- a mighty weapon.  In fact Paul described it like this, "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart," Hebrews 4:12.  Wow!  That is a powerful weapon indeed -- yet, how many Christians fail to take up that mighty weapon and use it as we, "wrestle against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places," Ephesians 6:12?

    Too many times, we stand like that emasculated pirate, made weaker and less effective without the weapon that can hold the powers of darkness at bay.  If we neglect the word of God and fail to hold it in our hearts and on our lips, we are failing to use one of our strongest weapons and its easier for the enemy to get the upper hand.  In the book of John, Jesus said, "...without Me you can do nothing," 15:5, but, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed," 8:31.

    The importance, value and blessing of God's Word cannot be overstated.  Paul reminded young Timothy of this truth in his second letter, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work," 3:16-17.

    That missing sword in the hand of our pirate is looking more ominous with every verse from the Bible.  He may as well hold his hands up in defeat and slink back to his ship.  Or, better yet, he needs to get himself a sword like any self-respecting pirate and defend himself.
    How about you?  Are you a mighty Christian, holding the Sword of the Word in your hand and heart, a mighty warrior for the Lord?  Or, are you holding an empty hilt without a sword, wrestling against principalities and darkness in your own power and failing to win the battle because of neglect of God's Word?  The remedy is simple -- as the child's song says, "Read your Bible, pray everyday and you'll grow, grow grow!"

    It's a jungle out there!  We need "to put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil," Ephesians 6:10.  And what is a warrior without a sword?  To put it bluntly, he's probably dead  - or asleep (at least in his spirit).  Paul warns:  "It is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed," Romans 13:11, and then, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth," 2 Timothy 2:15.

                   "Have you read my #1 Best Seller?  There will be a test...." signed, God