Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wednesday's Hodgepodge

So here it is, a week since my last post.
Nothing much exciting is going on around here to speak of.
The leaves are finally beginning to turn a bit and after being in the 80's again this week,
we will be cooling way down for the upcoming weekend and next week....yay!!

Early last Friday morning as I headed out to do my shopping, the sunrise was so beautiful.
I pulled off on the side of the road for a bit to take it all in and capture it on my phone.

A little further down the road, I came up on this scene in a nearby field.

The sun had just made it up over the horizon and created a golden glow on this old tractor
and this trail of hay bales.

The contrast between the glow and the darkened, somewhat cloudy sky was sight to see.
My photos really do not do it justice.

You probably know by now that scenes like this make my heart beat a little faster :)

So I'm joining Joyce's Hodgepodge again this week...


...where she asks the questions and we answer them on our blog.
Here are this week's questions:

1. What would you say is your strongest sense?

Well, I know it's not seeing...I need lots of help there. I think I do hear well though...sometimes too much maybe :) Although this isn't one of the regulars, I think my strongest sense would be the ability to "know" or have a strong feeling when something or someone doesn't seem quite right. I would also call this intuition. I feel like, in most instances, I am able to discern...or have a "gut instinct" about certain matters or people. I believe this is just one of the ways the Holy Spirit helps me along the way.

2. Do you believe in the idea of a 'sixth sense'? Why or why not?

I am quite leery about putting stock in this type of thing, although my father had the ability to blow the fire out of burns...really and truly. You can read my account of it here, on my other blog. I have never known how to explain it to anyone but I have been a recipient of his "gift" and I feel that is what it was...I know it came from God. I have no explanation as to why or how some folks say they can communicate with the dead or can predict the future. I only know what God's word says about the matter..."Don’t dabble in the occult or traffic with mediums; you’ll pollute your souls. I am God, your God."    Leviticus 19:31 (The Message)

3. When do you most feel like a slave to time? Explain.

Probably, because I'm not the most organized person in the world, I can get a little flustered around the holidays and/or whenever I am preparing for guests. This is due to not planning my time as wisely as I should. I will say though, that I am always on time and even sometimes early to work, church, appointments, meetings or anything else. The occasions are rare when you'll find me running around like a chicken with it's head cut off, but it does happen from time to time :)

4. Have you ever worked in a restaurant? How would you rate the experience? If you could own a restaurant what kind would it be?

Nope, never have...and I think if someone offered that opportunity, I'd have to turn them down. I prefer to just eat in them, not own one :)

5. Ever traced your family tree? Share something interesting you learned there.

I personally have not done this, although I have some relatives that dabble in it a bit. Because of one cousin's efforts, she found my blog and we made a connection. Some of you may remember reading that story several months ago on my blog. It was really quite remarkable!

6. What did your childhood bedroom look like?

Living in a small house with that many kids (7 at the time) was quite a challenge when it came time to find room for everyone to sleep. I spent the first four years of my life sleeping in a baby crib in my parent's bedroom! I can remember to this day the very moment when all that changed. My mom was getting me settled in bed for the night and as she bent down to tuck me in, I said something like " nice comfortable bed!" Just a few seconds after saying that, the springs let go and the mattress literally fell to the floor with me on it! No more baby bed for me! I was quickly moved upstairs with all of the other kids...two older brothers in one room (and the same bed) and all five of us girls in the other room... sharing TWO beds ...and our last name was not even Walton! As far as the room goes, it was quite small with an angled ceiling in that "story and a half" little house. My dad built it himself and never got around to finishing the upstairs rooms, until several years later. They were actually quite crude, with unpainted drywall and no trim around the windows. Later, when I was a teen and the only ones left at home was me and one sister, I wallpapered my room in a funky black and white checkerboard pattern (of all things) and trimmed it out in white and had red accents. The main thing I remember about my room, no matter how many it inhabited, was that it was always comfortable, cozy and filled with fond childhood memories.

7. Anyone who knows me knows I love____?

The Lord Jesus, my family and friends, my dogs and roosters.........................and pizza. And chocolate...can't forget the chocolate.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Wake me up when the election is over, okay? :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Very Moving Hodgepodge

Hello on this fine October day!
Today I'm joining Joyce's Hodgepodge...
...where she asks the questions on her blog and we answer them on ours.

I am wanting to post fall-like photos but we are still quite green around these parts...
 so the photos in this post are mostly from previous years.

The weather is absolutely gorgeous here after Hurricane Matthew made his appearance.
The air is crisp and clean, bright blue skies abound and fall has definitely arrived.
 I wish the same was true for areas east of where I live and on towards the coast,
where they are experiencing major flooding due to rivers overflowing their banks.
Hundreds and hundreds have lost their homes and thousands are still without power.
The latest report I heard is that at least 18 have died and some are still missing.
As we speak, rescue operations are in very sad.
There hasn't been such devastation in North Carolina since Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
I try to imagine what it would be like to lose my home and everything I have but really cannot.


I have seen so many grateful faces on the news reports though...
...even though they have lost all of their earthly possessions,
they still have their lives and are praising God in the midst of this tragedy.
I pray for the Lord to continue to give strength and encouragement to these folks,
as it will take months and months for many of them to get settled again.
So as I mention this devastation and these displaced families,
how ironic that Joyce's questions this week are related to moving?
Anyway, let's get on with the questions, shall we?
1. What would you say is the best and worst thing about moving house?

Well, I'd say for me that the anticipation of having new surroundings is kind of exciting. I have always been one to adapt pretty well to change. As a young person, I lived in the same house since I was born in and lived there until I married Jim. As someone who loves to decorate, having a new space is like being a kid in a candy store. Fortunately, our move from Ohio to Kentucky and then from Kentucky to North Carolina were taken care of by the company Jim worked packing, no moving, just basically sitting back and watching it all take place. Two years ago when we sold our cabin in VA (which was loaded to the brim) the thought of packing up everything we had accumulated over the course of 12 years seemed like a monumental task and just thinking about it was overwhelming. So's the packing part that I don't like...but looking back on it now, it all came together well. It's just like anything else, the anticipation is worse than the actual moment for me.
Lake Michael, here in my hometown on a misty morning in 2014.
2. What's moved you recently?

This is pretty easy for me to answer, actually. I am moved every morning when I read the devotional that my son, Aaron puts on his facebook page as he begins each day. He sits out on the swing in his backyard and during his time with the Lord, he takes a picture of the day's reading. It keeps him accountable and it is helping him continue to live close to Jesus. I am moved every Sunday when I sit next to him in church and the way he is beginning to find ways to serve the Lord. I am moved everyday by the change in his demeanor and by the conversations that we are able to have. I could go on but I think you get it :)

3. Do you feel your life is moving forward, backward, or is on hold? How so?

I recently shared a post titled "Where Am I Going?" that speaks to this question. Click on the link if you'd like to know the answer :)

4. On the move, move mountains, get a move on, it's your move, or bust a move...which phrase best applies to some aspect of your life right now? Explain.

Although I can say that these all have been applied to my life at one point or another, recently I've really had a determination to start getting a move on, or in other words, start a daily walking routine. There's nothing to explain but you can be assured that You will hear about it if when I get my act together. I have no excuses now that cooler weather is here.

Acorns, anyone? We have TONS of them.
5. What song makes you want to get up and move?

That would probably be a toss-up between "Green River" by Creedence Clearwater Revival and "Rock This Town" by the Stray Cats. Yes, I used to bust a move quite often back in the day :)

6. Your favorite snack to grab when you're 'on the move'?

Hmm...probably a string cheese stick or a piece of deli meat...but I rarely eat on the run because when I do that, I forget I ate it! :)

...the day the wind blew a perfectly shaped circle of leaves onto my deck...{{smile}}
7. What one accessory makes your house feel like home?

Probably the fireplace. Before we moved here in 1992, I never had a fireplace in my home. There is just something about it, even when there is no fire burning, that creates a warm and cozy feeling, a feeling of home. It is also the central place to display the d├ęcor of the seasons.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Since this hodgepodge is about moving, I will say that now that we feel God is directing us to relocate to Tennessee after retirement, the idea of moving is always in the back of my mind. We are still in the midst of some home improvements that not only just need to be done, but that will allow our home to show and sell favorably. I have many Pinterest boards devoted to and overflowing with farmhouse decorating ideas. It is exciting to think of living life in the country...something that I've always dreamed of. More than that, being able to spend more time with the younger grandchildren and watch them grow up...and Lord willing, we will!

So here's one last photo as I tie this up...

...pretty much what it looks like around here since Matthew blew through.
I see a weekend of yard work in the near future :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Two Funerals

(Note: Please don't let the title discourage you.)
Two funerals in two days, two men generations apart in age...
 Michael had just turned 39 in June and Lonnie would have been 100 on December 31.
The way the two of them lived their lives couldn't have been more different.

I'll begin with Michael, who was good friend of our son.
He was two years ahead of Aaron in school but they had much in common,
including the love for anything with wheels, working on anything with wheels,
driving (fast) anything with wheels, and sadly, eventually falling into the clutches of alcoholism.
I met Michael for the first time when he came to our clinic for physical therapy.
His body had become ravaged from years and years of heavy drinking after the death of his father.
It was during that time that I also became acquainted with his mother,
a sweet sister-in-the-Lord who loved her son so very much.
Long story short, Michael's teenage son also became a patient over the last few years,
along with another family member so the therapist and I became quite close to the family.
(When you find a great physical therapist, word gets around :)
Michael reminded me of Aaron in so many ways.
His mother and I bonded right away over the similarities in our sons.
We prayed for each other...and for each others' boys.

Last Thursday, Aaron saw it on Facebook and called me.
After being in and out of hospitals the past few years, Michael had lost his battle.
I had just seen his mom several weeks earlier and she told me how much better he was doing,
both physically and spiritually and that he had been sober for a good while.

Now, on to Lonnie...
...a precious soul that my family had been blessed to know for nearly 24 years.
Just a few short weeks ago, Lonnie drove himself to church for the last time.
You heard me right...he drove himself to 99 years young.
Scary, you might think but I'll tell you, he was probably a better driver than most younger folks.
As a widower, he lived alone and always looked like a million bucks...
regularly sporting a coat and tie, white hair perfectly combed, impeccable posture,
and walked with confidence in every step he took.
No one would ever guess the man's age if they didn't know him.
Lonnie had lived his life for the Lord and had been His faithful servant for over 70 years.
Many of you may have a "Lonnie" in your church, no doubt.
He was the kind of man who seemed to have a direct line to God,
one who was so filled with the fruits of the spirit that when you were in his presence,
it seemed like the world was a brighter place.
The Lord must have given him the gift of knowing who needed special prayer.
 Lonnie always had a special place in his heart for our Aaron, knowing a bit about his struggles.
Several months ago, during the time Aaron was at the Potter's Wheel, 
Lonnie (who always sat behind us at church) was asking about him, like he had often done.
He had no knowledge of his current situation at that time but then again, somehow he knew.
Here's what he said:
"The Lord woke me up in the middle of the night with Aaron on my mind. Now I don't know why, but I knew I needed to pray for him so I did...the Lord knows why and that's all that matters."
Fast forward several months...
 ...that certain soul in need which Lonnie was awakened to pray for was sitting on the pew,
 right in front of him and has been now for several months...
...that is until a couple of weeks ago when Lonnie suffered a heart attack.
His 99 year old ticker was worn out and just couldn't handle any more.
Last Friday, Lonnie stepped over into Glory to meet his Jesus.
What an extraordinary life!

Two funerals home-going celebrations in two days.
At Michael's service, we were made aware in no uncertain terms that for the past several months,
he had been getting reacquainted with Jesus...
...regularly meeting with his pastor, attending Bible study and praying.
His pastor spoke highly of him and he was well loved by many,
and I am guessing here,  but it looked like about 400-450 in attendance at his service.
There was not a doubt in the minds of anyone that he was in the arms of Jesus, in perfect health.
As Aaron and I sat there, I know he must have been thinking what I was thinking...
...that this service could have just as easily been for him.

And as for Lonnie, his life spoke for itself...there was never even a question.
We will dearly miss the echoes of his bold "Amens" and "Praise the Lords" during our services.
After getting the news of these two men passing away just a day apart,
I couldn't help but think about their contrasting lives.
Nothing about the two of them was like the other, except for one thing...
...they both had a friend in Jesus.
One had known him most of his life and the other had just recently met him.

Two men, six decades apart in age, living their lives on opposite ends of the spectrum.
Both, rejoicing in heaven today.

Only by grace.

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Spiritual Sundays

Friday, September 23, 2016

Sisters at the Beach

Well, I've returned from my little birthday excursion to the sea shore and it seems to be taking me a while to get back in the swing of things. I have been trying to get this post ready for days and I've barely looked at a blog since early last week. I've missed ya'll! Being away from my regular routine for several days can certainly make life a little crazy. I must also tell you to be prepared for photo and narrative overload! Consider yourself warned :)

The Lord was blessing our little get-away right from the start and at 64 years young, Sister Barb experienced flying for the very first time! Oh, but I'm pretty sure it won't be her last...she thoroughly enjoyed it and she had a wonderful experience. Any fears that she had were quickly put to rest as she sat next to a pilot who flew for Amazon! His calm assurance made her feel quite secure and she was really able to enjoy her time in the air. She had no doubt in her mind that her pilot friend was Hand-selected to be her traveling companion...put there just for her.

We had been planning this trip for a year or more and we had an absolutely fantastic time together. Barb is one of the most selfless people I know and she is always putting others before herself. Since she retired a little over a year ago, she has found herself possibly even busier than she was before, taking on many "grandma" duties, helping out her two working daughters. If there was ever anyone who needed a little time away, it would be her.

There's something kind of wonderful about celebrating getting another year older but behaving as if you've actually gotten younger! There were moments when we laughed so hard we could barely stop. There were other times when we reminisced about the old days and spoke of serious matters.

I beat the pants off of her in a game of 500 Rummy and we decided to go to 1000 and she turned the tables on me! We took more selfies than we ever have and I even invested in a selfie stick! I said I'd never get one of! How can you pass up a $6.00 selfie stick, especially when it's 50% off and especially when you have short arms?? Never say never! It was just great sister time.

Tropical Storm Julia was looming overhead, stirring things up a bit and she created the most dramatic sky show. What started out looking like a wet four-day weekend, became a beautiful mix of clouds with brilliant blue skies with stunning cloud formations.

We sat on the deck watching a passing rain storm,..

...intensifying it's appearance with a little help from my "UV filter":D

Cooking together played a big part in the fun as well. We had been scanning Pinterest and Facebook for yummy things to cook for months and as it turned out, we only ate out one time during our stay. Our first morning started out with a breakfast pizza.... had a hash brown crust topped with bacon, sausage, cheese and eggs. It was so good and we had the leftovers for breakfast the next day. That was Thursday, my birthday, and we spent the afternoon just sitting on the shore watching the show. There were very few crazy ladies others on the beach and at times it seemed to be just us and the seagulls. 

It was very windy and we knew the beach umbrella didn't stand a chance. There wasn't any sun to keep off of us anyway and then it started to rain. There we sat through about three different showers, getting pelted and soaked. We both agreed that it was reminiscent of times when we played out in the rain as kids. Then it finally stopped raining and this happened....

...oh it was just a glorious sight and we both agreed that only heaven could be more beautiful.

Afterwards, it was blue skies for the rest of the day. Between the wind and a short stint in the pool, we got a On our way out for my birthday dinner, this majestic sunset stopped us in our tracks.

Barb treated me to a fabulous dinner...peppercorn seared tuna with caramelized onions and balsamic glaze, the "house" mashed potatoes along with a great salad and home baked bread. The tuna was cooked to perfection and oh so delicious.

We had baked a pumpkin/pecan dump cake earlier and it was waiting for us back in our room. 
Who needs birthday cake, anyway??

The weather was much improved and the next day we headed out to ride the ferry to Southport. The island is loaded with cool little shops so we browsed a few of them and had some ice cream. Riding the ferry was so relaxing and the skies were brilliant blue.

Before we headed out out, we put our dinner in  my little vintage crock pot that I brought from home. We decided to make a simple chicken and broccoli dish...chicken breasts in the bottom, fresh broccoli added, seasonings and cream of mushroom soup poured over the top. We ate it over a multi-grain rice mix and it was delicious! The lovely aroma of eau de broccoli about knocked us down when we got back, as it permeated every nook and cranny our room. How is it that broccoli tastes so good but smell SO bad???

That was also the night of the Harvest Moon
 and it was a beautiful thing to see as it rose over the ocean.

A few miles down from Carolina Beach is Kure Beach and Fort Fisher, one of my favorite places to visit. I've shared photos of this area before in another post and I always look forward to coming here to this lovely part of the sea shore. It is also quite rich in history as it is the site of a major battle in the Civil War. There is a museum that tells all about it. We have brought the grandsons here many times over the years and they could probably tell you every detail :)

Yes, another selfie :)

So Sunday morning we had a little worship time on the deck before going out to get our feet wet once more before our departure. It had started out cloudy and rainy but soon the sky was blue with white billowy clouds. I recorded this video of us singing a chorus of "How Great Thou Art", a song which always comes to mind when I witness the vastness of the ocean.

We only waded in ankle-deep because the sea was quite rough, but we definitely got what we came for...and a free pedicure to boot! Sand does wonders on those rough heels :)

You know what they say about all good things. It was time to pack up the Jeep and head for home. We had a little more time to visit since her plane didn't fly out until Monday. It was one of the best birthdays I can remember having and I'm so thankful that God blessed our time together.

I'll close by adding these panoramic shots taken from my iphone.
Now that she's got that first flight under her belt, we may just have to make a habit out of this.
Same time next year, Barb???

So now I better get busy and see what everyone's been up to...
...OH...and Happy Fall, Y'all!
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