Saturday, August 27, 2016

Where Am I Going?

I have to admit, there are times when I have no idea!

Have you ever felt that way or am I the only one?
I mean, I do know that ultimately, I am going to go to heaven one day.
But where am I actually heading on my day to day journey?
There are days when I feel like I'm traveling in the fast lane—not by my lifestyle...
...but like life is just passing by so quickly.
Or sometimes it seems like I'm headed down a one-way street,
not being able to get to where I need to be.

What is the reason for this out-of-nowhere, random question?

I will blame it on my new phone.
Yes, my peeps...I have actually joined the ranks and gotten an iphone!
I know, I know...it's about time I got with the program, right?
My dumb little phone has done me well all these years, but it was time.
And what have I been lusting longing for most after seeing many of YOU using it?
The Waterlogue App.

So I was going through some of the many photos I've taken so far
 and decided to give this random shot that I took on my way to work one morning
the Waterlogue treatment.

Oh my...

That road seemed to take on a whole new meaning and I just couldn't stop looking at it.
I'm not really sure why, but it had a way of making me take stock of my life.
Some days I might feel like I've pretty much got it all together,
but there are just as many days I know, unequivocally, that I do NOT!
I look at that road and it reminds me that I should be farther along on my journey.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, 
"This is the way; walk in it."
Isaiah 30:21

Thank you, Lord, for your holy spirit that convicts us me...not condemns me...
...but shows me what is it that I need to do—the things that I do have control over,
to make a difference in the lives of those that I come in contact with.

So...I fret a little and pray a lot.
 But here's what I do know...
...after God...

 I may not always know where I am going 
but I do recognize when I have been lagging behind.
I am thankful for the holy spirit's conviction and for the sweet grace of my Savior. 
I came across this poem that kind of puts it all into perspective, 
~
Life is a Journey
~unknown

Life is but a stopping place,
a pause in what's to be,
A resting place along the road,
to sweet eternity.

We all have different journeys,
different paths along the way,
We all were meant to learn some things,
but never meant to stay...

Our destination is a place,
far greater than we know.
For some the journey's quicker,
for some the journey's slow.

And when the journey finally ends,
we'll claim a great reward,
And find an everlasting peace,
together with the Lord.
~
So yes, I've been having some fun playing with my new iphone...
...and isn't it just like God to use technology to get His message across?!

I follow Jesus so I shall not walk in darkness, but I have the light of life.
John 8:12
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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Heat Wave

"If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?" 
~Steven Wright


A steamy, sultry morning around these parts.
Autumn, I hope to see you soon!

Sharing at ...
The Run-A-Round Ranch's

 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Safekeeping Susie's Treasures

"I want my "stuff" to have a happy home! Strangers just can't enjoy them the way I feel they should be enjoyed. Anything I send that you don't want to use or have please feel free to pass on to someone you know who would enjoy it."


That was part of a facebook message I received from my life-long friend Sue (known to many as Susie). We became friends back in 1972, shortly after I graduated high school and began my first job at a local weekly newspaper where she was working. She was one of the typists for the news columns and I was hired as a lay-out/paste-up artist for the advertisements. This was back in the day before everything was done on computers. The newspaper columns and ads were laid out on dummy pages and pasted into place. They were then photocopied, developed in a darkroom and burned onto plates and put on to the huge printing press...quite a cool process, actually.

Anyway, our friendship has stood the test of time and distance. Although I moved away from Ohio in 1981, Sue and I made a point to meet as often as we could when I returned for family visits. This continued as we moved even further south to North Carolina, but several years went by when we were not able to make it happen. I will never forget being at the funeral home in my home town after Mom passed...the family was gathered for her visitation when someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around and there she was, greeting me in that familiar little girl voice of hers. She was just beaming and I was about to find out why. Susie was in love and soon to be married for the first time...plus, she had traded in her keyboard for a white uniform and stethoscope. So at the tender age of 60, she became a wife and a nurse!


Susie had been a collector of vintage items for many years and her home was full of them. Unfortunately, her new hubby didn't share her love for the rusty and crusty so she packed many of her treasures away in boxes. Over time she felt compelled to part with most of them, some of which she gave to me! So several weeks ago, a large heavy box arrived, chock full of wonderful vintage treasures! She made sure everything was wrapped and packed safely and it was just like Christmas morning as I went through them, unwrapping each individual item. Many of them had come from estate sales and such, but a few others were actually family heirlooms.


This delicate night cap and the crumb catcher set (below) had belonged to her Great Aunt Ada. She told me they were well over 100 years old.


Great Aunt Ada was married to a dentist and was considered by the family to be "rich", according to Susie. I can't imagine sleeping with something like this on my head (although it does tend to bring back memories of sleeping in rollers...:O) but I guess many ladies wore them back in the day.


I was absolutely CAP-tivated (tee hee) by the intricate detail of the lace and delicate ribbon trimming. Take a closer look, isn't it just beautiful?


There were also many handmade lace doilies, embroidered dresser scarves and table runners and dainty lace-edged hankies and the like.


The lace around the edges of most of them is  hand-tatted and/or crocheted.


Also included was a darling vintage dish towel, a great old flour sack and many useful odds and ends.

 
Have you ever seen a cherry pitter?


It looks like I have all the tools I need to make some cherry jam, huh?


And then there was this adorable pin cushion made of linen from hand spun flax. Susie had put many notes inside of the box, giving a little history about just about every item.  But I have to say that above everything else that came in the box...even the lace night cap...these are my favorite...


When she was a little girl, she had a special friend whose mother, Mrs. Parker, made many beautiful crocheted doilies and things. The pink and red ruffled doilies are gorgeous but it's this little pair of high-heeled shoes that really made me ooh and aah. Aren't they just the cutest? What beautiful handiwork!


Although I felt totally blessed by receiving Susie's treasures, a part of me couldn't help but feel a little sad that she felt like she needed to part with them. But that's what blessing others is all about, isn't it—giving something away that you'd really like to keep for yourself. I means so much to me that she wanted me have them.

So what do I plan to do with my box of treasures? I think a little farm house in a meadow might just make a good place for many of them to be put to good use :)

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Reflections of the Week That Was

I took this photo a couple of weeks ago when we were on our way back from Ohio.
When I glanced in my rear-view mirror and saw this scene, it nearly took my breath away.


It reminded me again of how good God has been to me and my family...
...that sometimes we just need to take a look back and count all of our blessings.
~
This past Sunday, Jim and I celebrated 40 years together.
I can't really be that old, can I??


'Fraid so.
Seriously though, it is a little hard for me to wrap my brain around!


We've been through it all...there were times when I didn't think we would make it.
But God is good and He's been right there with us the whole time.
~
Then on Monday, Dylan gave us all quite a scare.
As a young child he suffered with asthma, severe at times, and made several visits to the hospital.
Before this, the last one was over 7 years ago, when he had to be life-flighted to UNC.
Since that time, he hadn't had one asthmatic episode......that is until this week.
Between the poor air quality (mugginess) and doing a lot of work outside mowing and such,
I guess it took it's toll on him and he had to be taken by EMS to our local hospital.
After spending most of the day there, they transported him to UNC Children's Hospital,
where he spent two night in the PICU.


Here he is after getting the good news that he could finally get something to eat and drink.
Two days of nothing in the tummy due to continuous breathing treatments was tough to handle...
...especially for a growing boy!
I teased him saying that I was pretty sure he was the only patient in the PICU with facial hair :)
He was able to go home on Thursday and we were all grateful for the Lord's healing touch.


So that's the lowdown on the week that was.
I sometimes need to just drop what I'm doing and take a moment...
...a moment to just sit back and reflect on what a good, good Father our God is.
~
Have a blessed weekend, friends.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Sunflowers, Butterflies and a Hodgepodge

Is it fall yet??
Boy, it sure can't get here soon enough for me!
How about you...are you ready for it?

So while I'm waiting, I have to show these gorgeous sunflowers that my son grew in his garden.
He told me to come and get some photos because they were covered with butterflies.

If you compare the size of these standard swallowtails to the flower head,
you can see that they are absolutely HUGE and some are at least 10 feet tall or taller.

My dad used to grow these mammoth sunflowers in his garden too...

...and Aaron keeps his grandpa's memory alive by working in his garden like he did,
among many other things.
Just one more...
...and now on with Joyce's Hodgepodge,
where she asks the questions on her blog and we answer them on ours.
1. Are you watching the Olympics? Your favorite summer Olympic event? I read recently a list of the most iconic Olympic moments in history...what stands out in your mind as a great moment from some past summer Olympic games?

I pretty much describe myself as someone who is not a sports fan. However, when it comes to the Olympics, I actually do like to watch certain events...particularly, swimming, diving and men's and women's gymnastics. Winter Olympic favorites are figure skating, ice dancing and the sledding events. I will always remember the 1996 Summer Olympics when tiny powerhouse gymnast, Kerri Strug was injured on the balance beam and carried out by her coach Bela Károlyi.

2. Have you ever been to Rio? How about the place that started it all-Greece? Have you ever been to any of the Olympic Games in person? Is that something you'd like to do? Have you ever met an Olympian in person?

No to all the above :)

3. The ball's in their court (tennis), cross the finish line (track and field), on target (archery), make a splash (diving), on a roll (gymnastics), out of one's depth (swimming)...which Olympic-related idiom best applies to your life right now? Explain.

I guess my answer would be "the ball's in my court". Lately, I feel the Lord has sent so many blessings my way and I feel the need (and want) to outwardly give more back. Many times, I need to get Debby out of the way. Does that make sense? My answer could also be "archery" because I also think I miss the mark more often than not.  

4. What have you earned a 'gold medal' in recently?

Hmmm...self examination, maybe?

5. What is it (or who is it) that motivates you to eat right, exercise, and do what you can to be healthy?

Probably myself, every time I look in a full length mirror.

6. Are you young at heart or an old soul? Explain.

This one's easy to answer but complicated to explain. I am definitely young at heart...although my body is aging, I still see that child within me reappear quite frequently...in good ways and in not-so-good ways. The not-so-good is what I'm working on and I've touched on it in answers 3 and 4. Can someone be young at heart and also be an old soul? I think so...I love the simplicity of how things used to be and if I could go back to many of the old ways, that would make me happy. I'm a deep thinker and sometimes I feel the need to escape the ways of the world that we live in today.
   
7. It's National S'mores Day (August 10th)...are you a fan? Will you celebrate with a s'more today?

I do love the flavor combo but can only handle about a half of one....they are so rich, they almost make my tongue curl. I seriously doubt I will be eating a S'mores today ...or tomorrow but maybe will shoot for one this fall over a campfire (hurry, fall, hurry!)

8. Insert your own random thought here.

It's almost lunchtime and I'm hungry!

So that does it for me...
...enjoy the rest of your week, my friends! 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Unmerited Favor


Unmerited favor.

They are two words that seem to cause some confusion.
Is it grace or is it mercy?

After doing some reading, I realized that these two little words could start a theological debate. Shows how much I know...and that's not what this post is about. 
But I will share these few sentences from the article because I think it explains my post perfectly.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Although they are similar expressions of his favor and love, they possess a clear distinction. 
When we experience God's grace, we receive favor that we do not deserve. 
When we experience God's mercy, we are spared punishment that we do deserve.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Our family was a witness to such "unmerited favor" just yesterday.
Anyone who follows my blog, no doubt has read about our son's struggle with alcohol.
You may have read about his brokenness, his road to recovery and his victories.
His life is being transformed, praise God, and I will not take one day of his sobriety for granted.
But as wonderful as all of this has been and still is,
we all knew the time would soon be coming to face the music.
The laws that were broken...that finally broke him...had to be dealt with in court.
So it has been a tense week in a couple of Ray households this week.
He was facing a minimum of 120 days in the county jail,
a place not fit for even the lowest of the low.
Prison would have been an improvement.
~
To say the least, the past nine months of Aaron's life have been quite different.
He has a daily walk with the Lord now and that has made all the difference in his life.
The time he spent at the Potter's Wheel has changed him into a new man,
 one I barely recognize at times...but I love it!


Yesterday, Aaron, accompanied by me and his dad, his fiance' Michelle, 
our pastor and five other friends (his and ours) met before court in the attorney's office.
Mr. Attorney took statements from each of us about our relationship with Aaron 
and told us that the judge (depending on who it was) may allow us to speak on his behalf. 
He also told us that never in his entire career, had he seen a client who had been so transformed
after going into a drug/alcohol treatment program.
He also cautioned us that the judge may not consider the time he spent there
towards any time served because it wasn't state funded.
He was preparing us for the worst case scenario.


Just sitting in the court room is enough to break your heart.
It's a revolving door, it seems...sad to see so many young people in trouble with the law.
They finally called out Aaron's name and it was time.
His line of supporters filled the first row of benches on both sides.
Mr. Attorney said what he said, Ms. Judge said what she said and then it was our turn.
One by one we stood and gave testimony to the goodness of God, 
about prayers being answered and the changes that we had all witnessed in his life.
Emotions were running strong and tears filled the eyes of nearly all of us. 
When asked if he would like to address the court, Aaron said he would.
He then turned and spoke first to each of us, thanking us for supporting him, tears streaming.
He then directed his comments to the others left in the court room.
(this is where it really gets good)

"If any of y'all out there have addictions with drugs and alcohol, 
you need to get Jesus in your life and let Him help you take care of it!"
~
The sentence was then pronounced...no jail time, but extended probation and monitoring,
as Ms. Judge and Ms. Assistant D.A. wiped a tear or two as well.
We had church right there in the courthouse!

Did he deserve more punishment? Yes...
...that's why it's called unmerited favor.
Grace? Yes.
Mercy? Absolutely.
Wonderful? Without a doubt.

... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus...    Romans 3:23-24
~
I want to thank everyone who has been praying for my boy.
I appreciate your continued prayers for him as he meets each new day.
Much love to all of you!


Sharing at:
Spiritual Sundays

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Family Matters


A lot can happen in a week.
Good things and not-so-good things.
A week ago today, we loaded into Jim's Camry and headed for Tennessee.
Oldest grandson, Dacey, rode shotgun and I was scrunched up in the back with Dylan...
...and two dachshunds in a crate between us.
I wish I was kidding but I still have swollen feet and ankles to prove it.
Why? Because my legs are shorter than Dacey's.
~
We always have a great time when we go to Adam's peaceful country place.


He cut down a few trees since we were there last and this is the new view from the back porch.
I wish I could tell you there were cool breezes blowing as we sat on that back porch.
But I'd be lying.....it was hotter than all get out.
Here are some of the highlights of our time together.
~
It has taken him a while but the tree house he built is nearly complete.
There is also a second story with a loft.


















Pretty cool, huh?


We went for a short four-wheeler ride down the drive and across the road...
...to the meadow where we plan to build our farmhouse, Lord willing.


Give us a couple of years and hopefully we will have this new zip code.


The "X" marks the spot where we want the house to sit.
Exciting stuff!


We came across these lovely and unique wildflowers growing in the meadow.
I googled "purple wildflower with squiggley tines" and found it!
I discovered it to be Passiflora incarnata L. or Purple passionflower.


We drove through an Amish community and visited some country stores...



...and rummaged through a really cool old general store/vintage Greyhound Bus station.


The bus comes through regularly and it is the sole means of long-distance transportation 
for the Amish folks when they visit far-away relatives and such.
It was a great vintage place with lots to see.



We visited Davy Crockett State Park and it was a perfect day for cooling off in the falls.


There is a small museum there and these beauties were there on display.
The owls seemed to look a little forlorn, yet peaceful and their beauty was stunning.


We also enjoyed the best brisket known to man (or woman) at this restaurant along the way.
Oh. My. Goodness.


And hanging on the wall was an array of tee shirts that can be purchased there.
No offense meant to any vegans or non-hunters, please...I just got a little chuckle out of them.

And I would be remiss if I didn't post a photo of our friend who came visiting on Saturday morning.
I got within a few feet of "Army" :)

And there's always time for a little target practice...
...near bulls eyes for all of them at around 150 yards!


But just hanging out on the back porch (when it cooled off a bit) was most enjoyable.
Parker, especially, just goes to pieces when it's time for us to say goodbye.
The time flies by when we are together but you know what they say about all good things.
And let me just tell you, it was way too soon to be doubling up like a pretzel again for the trip home.
We traveled at night so I was able to sleep through most of it, making it home safe and sound.
The next time, we really must come up with another mode of transportation!
~
And now for the not-so-good...
I received a text from one of my sisters in Ohio shortly before arriving home.
Our next to the oldest sister, Ruby, who was in the hospital with some ongoing health issues,
was given the news that her husband had been brought in with breathing difficulties.
Clyde had several serious health problems but had been recovering somewhat and getting dialysis.
Things quickly went downhill from there and just as we arrived home, 
word came that it didn't look good for him.
That same Monday afternoon, my sister's husband of 56 years passed away.
As God would have it, she recovered and was able to leave the hospital the following day
 to take care of the necessary task at hand.
~
So we will be on the road again tonight...to Ohio this time,
no grands in tow this trip.


There will be dachshunds in a crate though, due to no other alternatives on short notice. 
~
We enjoy road trips but the very last thing we wanted to do was take another so soon.
Arrangements and re-arrangements had to be made in our lives, with our jobs, etc.
Death never comes at a convenient time.
It was nothing that was planned, but it will be a bittersweet family reunion.
All of us will be together to say our final goodbyes to a soft-spoken godly man,
one who was as close as any true blood brother could ever be...
...a father who was reunited with two of his own children that were taken way too soon,
as Jesus ushered him into Glory.
~
Yes, we're on the road again...because family matters.

Stay cool, my friends and love to all.
  
Sharing at:
Mosaic Monday

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