Saturday, March 29, 2014

It's a "God Thing"

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, 
if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, 
if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, 
having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
Philippians 2:1-2

Her name is Rita. We met under strange circumstances this afternoon. You see, the house next door to me is empty and I thought I might just casually walk around the fence and grab a couple of quick photos of the huge Bradford pear tree that was loaded with white blossoms. As I entered the backyard and was making my way over to the tree, I heard a voice. I am trespassing and I just got caught! Since the house was just listed this week, I thought it was probably the real estate agent. Wrong. Rita is a perspective buyer who decided to stop by on her own before she meets with the realtor in a few days for the formal showing. So, I explained to her what my purpose was for being there. After a few uncomfortable moments, we chatted mostly about the neighborhood and all of the usual things that one might chat about meeting under those circumstances. After a brief back and forth between the two of us, I found out she had recently been divorced after a 36 year marriage and she was needing a fresh start. Wow...I thought to myself...I couldn't even imagine that. We talked a bit about how we really just don't know what is down the road and that life can certainly turn out not at all as we had planned. I related her 36 year story to my husband losing his job after 36 years...and how the job he has now (which he loves) is co-managing a group home for six special-needs men and makes less than half  his previous salary. My next sentence seemed to change the course of the conversation when I added "it was a God thing", referring to his job coming at just the right time, just as his severance pay had run out. Right away, Rita asked me "'re a believer?" The look on her face was hard to explain when I of course answered "yes." Although she was very sweet and polite right from the start, her countenance seemed to change and a look of joy spread across her face. All of a sudden, our conversation turned toward things of the Lord.

I don't know how long we stood outside talking in her potential new backyard. I know I learned many things about this perfect stranger. I learned more about Rita's life in a matter of a few minutes than I have learned about any of my neighbors in the last twenty-two years! I learned that through an abusive childhood and subsequent abusive marriage, she was still loving Jesus...and she needed to share that with someone. She may be my new neighbor or she may not be. Our paths may never cross again. All I know is that because I decided to sneak a picture of a tree (which I never got because it got too dark) my rather uneventful day was brightened and hopefully Rita's was too...two perfect strangers found a kindred spirit within each other. Whether or not we meet again, I have no was a God thing.  

I hope your week is blessed with "God" things!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Every hour I need You...

There's a song that is playing in my head.
It's been there since last Sunday morning when I first sang it with our worship team.

The message couldn't be simpler....or more powerful.

Click on the video below if you'd like to hear it...
...or maybe even sing along.

"Lord, I Need You"
~Chris Tomlin

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You're the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I'll fall on You
Jesus, You're my hope and stay

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

You're my one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You


I can't think of a song I'd rather have stuck in my head.
I want this to be my theme song.
 Because I never want to stop needing my Jesus...
...every day, every hour, every minute, every second.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Simplicity: a Note Card Collection

Hello everyone!
I hope your week is off to a great start.
We have been having more lovely freezing rain and sleet :(
You know, I think I need to return that calendar I purchased in January...
...I'm pretty sure it's defective!
Anyway, the bright spot will be joining in the fun over at Vee's Note Card Party!
So...when I was thinking about a theme for my note cards,
my first thought was spring...well of course!
That is what's on most our minds, isn't it?
But as I was looking through my photos, I found so many that I had taken at our cabin...
...where life is slow and simple.

What do you think of when you think of simplicity?

This is my box cover.
I wanted to give the photos some "artsy" effects so I played around a bit with them.
I love the Waterlogue app that many of you are using these days.
I don't have an iphone so I just experimented using Photoscape and Picmonkey together.

Checkers, anyone?
This is where my grandchildren learned how to play...
...on the front porch of the cabin.

And no... this is not where I sit to drink my moonshine...
...I do that inside where no one can see me.

Surely you know I'm kidding, right?

During the warmer months, the road to the cabin is lined with a variety of wildflowers.
I love picking them and placing them in simple vessels like this old wooden bucket.

The original version of this photo was in one of my first posts...
...where I took you on a little tour of Fancy Gap.

This photo in it's original form was also in that same post.
I call it serenity.

I love what The Message version of the Bible says about simplicity...
..."A simple life in the Fear-of-God
    is better than a rich life with a ton of headaches".

Proverbs 15:16 
The Message

Blessings, sweet friends!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

New Beginnings

"Behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.
The flowers have already appeared in the land; the time has arrived for pruning the vines,
and the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.
The fig tree has ripened its figs, and the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance.
Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along!"

Song of Solomon 2:11-13

In just a few short days, the calendar says it will be SPRING!
Aren't we all just so ready for it?
It has been a long, cold winter, to say the least!

Just as starting the new year back in January seemed like a new beginning,
the winter season has a way of putting a damper on our enthusiasm and our spirits, doesn't it?

Spring has a way of re-starting our "engines" again.
Spring is a time for new beginnings.
A time when we are ready for a fresh start...for our hope to be renewed.

When I see these little green buds peeks their cute little heads out of the dirt,
it reminds me how I have felt much of the winter...
...craving the warmth of the sun and ready to get going again!

If the winter doldrums have gotten you (and me) down, 
spring is the perfect time for us to begin to find our joy again!

To start that diet (once again) after our New Year's Resolution wore thin...
...the only thing that's thin... start taking those walks that we gave up on when it got too cold... get that house back in order by doing some spring cleaning...
...and not just our physical dwellings places...
...but more importantly in our hearts, Christ's home.

~ Gertrude B. McClain

It's only the beginning now
...a pathway yet unknown
At times the sound of other steps
...sometimes we walk alone

The best beginnings of our lives
May sometimes end in sorrow
But even on our darkest days
The sun will shine tomorrow.

So we must do our very best
Whatever life may bring
And look beyond the winter chill
To smell the breath of spring.

Into each life will always come
A time to start anew
A new beginning for each heart
As fresh as morning dew.

Although the cares of life are great
And heads are bowed so low
The storms of life will leave behind
The wonder of a rainbow.

The years will never take away
Our chance to start anew
It's only the beginning now
So dreams can still come true.

 May we all rejoice as we welcome spring this week...
 ...even if the temperatures don't cooperate!


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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Winter Storm Ulysses: A White "Christmas" in March

Yay! My internet is finally back up! Things seem to be getting back in order around my neck of the woods...literally. I say this with all sincerity and compassion to my friends and neighbors who lost many, many trees and electrical power for what must have seemed like endless days (some are still without) due to Ulysses, a crazy ice storm that hit our area in North Carolina last Friday.  Fortunately for us, we were at our cabin in Fancy Gap, VA. It seems as though we are not quite finished with winter yet!


For those of you who read my last post about the baby doll, you might remember that we had our Birthdays/ Christmas/Valentine's/Easter get together with our son and his sweet family who live near Nashville this past weekend. We often meet at the cabin since it is a short drive for us and saves them about 2 hours on their trip. We knew they were forecasting a wintry mix for our area and were concerned about it interfering with our plans. We were traveling towards the northwest...and the storm was coming from the southwest and we literally criss-crossed it on our way and made it to the cabin just in time to see a light snow starting to fall. The Nashville Bunch were enroute but still a few hours away. I had a feeling that they may be taking a midnight hike. I was right. The sound of spinning tires woke me up as I sat dozing in the chair awaiting their arrival. After giving it that old college try, my determined son gave up, gathered up his crew and everything they could carry and made their way up two steep inclines, otherwise known as the "driveway from h---".

It snowed all that night and all day on Friday...about six inches of soft, fluffy snow gently fell out of the sky. Although it was unexpected, the kiddos (including the big ones) were thrilled! It was the perfect snow for the perfect white Christmas that we didn't have on December 25th! Bring on the hot cocoa and cider! I even made another batch of snow cream, something that none of them had ever tasted. They loved it! I know that everyone is sick of snow but please just humor more time :)

So, while enjoying our winter wonderland, we became aware through phone TV or internet available except for my son's iphone (I still have a dumb phone)— that our neighborhood looked like a war zone. It seemed Ulysses dumped a ton of freezing rain, snapping trees and power lines leaving thousands upon thousands without power. We had five trees fall across our cul-de-sac and a few more across the driveway. We were very happy to be where we were but I have to admit a part of my heart was suffering along with our friends and neighbors.

So...celebrate we did! The kiddos were thrilled with their gifts. Parker thought he had died and gone to heaven with the Erector Set we gave him...

...and you should have seen Olivia's eyes light up when she saw the baby doll. Right away, she named her "Joey". Well...Joey can be a girl's name too, right?

Both she and her mommy fell in love with her...I think I should have gotten one for her too! I think Olivia's mommy is going to be pretty protective over Baby Joey! Everyone got in on the bonding...even her daddy :)

Saturday we handed out Valentine's goodies and most of snow had melted by the late afternoon. Sunday was another spring-like day melting any leftover snow and we had an Easter egg hunt! You might as well get in all you can, when you can, right? Crazy, crazy weather! I was so busy with the egg hunt, I failed to have my camera handy...I could just kick myself!

Knowing that we would be returning to a dark, cold house was not how we had intended on ending our weekend....but you know what? We only had to suffer through one night since our power was restored on Monday afternoon. Many people are still without and I feel blessed but am praying that everyone's will soon be restored. All in all, God is good and it was a super fun weekend!

Have a great rest of the week!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Please excuse me while I return to my childhood....

I have two of them.
(actually, three...if you count my :)
Even though they are both grown men, they will always be my boys.

Both of my boys have boys...the oldest has two.
My youngest has one.
I love my boys and my grand boys dearly, surely you must know I do.

Then along came sweet precious grand daughter.
Finally, a little girl in the family!

She just turned five last December.
She and her brother Parker, who recently turned seven, live near Nashville...
...about 8 hours from here.
It was a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving when we saw them last.

I am so excited to be seeing them this weekend!
They are meeting us at our cabin in VA...a closer drive for them.
We will be celebrating birthdays, Christmas, Valentine's Day...
...and Easter, since its right around the corner!

 Sure, it's fun buying gifts for boys... seems I've been doing it all of my life...
...but there is something I've missed out on...until Olivia came along.

Look what MawMaw has for her!

Oh my goodness...can I just tell you how much I adore this baby doll?!

My sweet daughter-in-love (I am borrowing this expression from my sweet blogging friends),
told me that Olivia loves to nurture and mother, and that she would like a baby doll to take care of.
Well, this grandma made it her mission to find just the right one.

After researching and reading review after review, I think I found her!
Amazon gives her a five star rating...JC Toys La Baby "Flower".

What a precious little mouth and chin...she looks so real!
Did I tell you how much I love this little baby doll???

Look at her realistic, adorable hands and feet!
Oh my goodness...each extremity is unique and looks surprisingly real.

I wanted her to be cuddly and somewhat floppy like a real baby... reality stops above the knees and elbows.
Her body is stuffed and weighted in her little bottom.
Your imagination must take over when you change her diaper or her outfit...
...the sacrifice if you want soft and cuddly...oh well.

I bought about 10 real baby outfits at the Goodwill Store for less than $2 each.
She wears size newborn...they fit her perfectly...
...and I tried each one on her.
Yes. Each. One.
That little girl who still lives within me seems to be alive and well!

Is she precious or what?

Can I just tell you how much.....oh yeah....I guess you already know that, right?

I just cannot wait to see Olivia's face when she opens up her new baby doll!
I wonder if she will let MawMaw play too?

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