Sunday, January 6, 2019

70?


From a recent Facebook page, anonymous.

“The young feel tired at the end of an action; the old at the beginning.” 
T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)

1949. Me and many of my friends were born that year. And this new year we’ll turn seventy. 70. SEVENTY. That’s caused me to ponder this event for awhile now.

As my friends know, I love to celebrate my birthday. When I turned 50 I started celebrating the entire month of my birthday. Breakfast, lunch and dinner dates with my friends. There aren’t many opportunities to celebrate, and I didn’t want to overlook an occasion!

The week of my 50th birthday, each day I brought in a homemade treat for my fellow co-workers. I didn’t want black ribbon around my cubicle. I wanted celebration!

When I turned 55 I had the best birthday party of my life! I called it the “Celebration of Friends” party, and invited 16 of my closest friends from elementary school through my life. It was one of the best things I have ever done celebrating all of them!


Turning 40, or 50, or 60 didn’t affect me. I’ve never been bothered about my age. That is until this year. Turning 70 brings with it decisions and actions I’ve not thought about before. I spent a good part of this past November and December thinking about my life. What good have I done. Is there still something for me to do in the time I have left in this world.  I want to make a difference.

Turning 70 brings to light a subject no one enjoys thinking about. Death. Friends will begin to have health concerns. Some will die. I may die. March I'll be four years cancer free. I am thankful for that. I’ve already said goodbye to several friends. I don’t like it. But it is reality.

Yes, Linda, Penny, Steve, Roy, Sharon, Cindy, Susan, Yvonne, Jack, and all those I can’t remember, this is the year. I invite you to join me in considering what you have done and what you can still do for however long you have here on this earth.


There may be gray hair, more weight, thicker glasses and slower reactions, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing more to do.

“Oh Lord, let me not live to be useless.” 
John Wesley (1703-1791)

So this year when my birthday month comes around, and I turn 70 years old, I hope I will have pondered my purpose for these last years of life and stand strong in my determination to be all God wants me to be.

“Little self-denials, little honesties, little passing words of sympathy, little nameless acts of kindness, little silent victories over favorite temptations—these are the silent threads of gold which, when woven together, gleam out so rightly in the pattern of life that God approves.” 
Frederic William Farrar (1831-1903)

The ending of a year is a great time for reflection, for introspection—a time to reevaluate our priorities, look at how we are spending our time, and most importantly, our relationship with God. 

Have we grown closer to Him in the past months or are we slipping farther away? As 2018 is now over, take time to ask yourself—Is God #1 in my life? Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38). Franklin Graham

My pastor posted this on Facebook: Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 tells us that for every aspect of life we experience them only but for a season. This means that all things are temporary. Biblically God's average life span for mankind is 3 score and 10 or 70 years. Some live much less and some much more, but average life span given is 70. This sounds like a long time, but on the radar screen of time it is only a blip on the screen. Everything that we do and everything that we say matters. Let's do all we can in 2019 to live life with an understanding that each day counts, that each moment matters. "Only one life will soon be past and only what's done for Christ will last!

“The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it.” Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

How about you? You may be older than 70 or younger than 70, but taking thought of your life makes sense at any age. It goes by fast. What will you do to make a difference?

Monday, December 31, 2018

Call Back


"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. The longer I live, the more my mind dwells upon the beauty and wonder of the world."
John Burroughs, 1837-1921 

  I finished both quilt pieces that I started last week. I'm pleased with how they turned out. I ordered some fabric bundles recently and they arrived last Saturday. One was of greens and one of tans. Much to my surprise and delight, inside the tan bundle I found another swatch like the one above, only a little darker brown. So sometime down the road I'll be making another one with that lovely scene!

Today is the last day of 2018. A new year, a new anticipation, a fresh new beginning is about to start.

At the end of the year I like to recall this poem that tells us to “call back” to those we know. Share your story about how God has helped you so that others can be encouraged. Hearing real life stories about your faith can inspire and carry others through difficult times.

This is the brown one completed. The backing is the same as the trim.

I love hearing and reading about men and women of faith.  So this new year, please join me and "call back" how God has seen you through the years, and the amazing things you've learned in following Him. I hope this poem inspires you to share with others.

"If you have gone a little way ahead of me, call back--
'Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track;
And if, perchance, Faith's light is dim, because the oil is low,
Your call will guide my lagging course as wearily I go.

"Call back, and tell me that He went with you into the storm;
Call back, and say He kept you when the forest's roots were torn,
That, when the heavens thunder and the earthquake shook the hill,
He bore you up and held you where the very air was still.

"Oh, friend, call back, and tell me for I cannot see your face;
They say it glows with triumph, and your feet bound in the race;
But there are mists between us and my spirit eyes are dim,
And I cannot see the glory, though I long for word of Him.

"But if you'll say He heard you when your prayer was but a cry,
And if you'll say He saw you through the night's sin-darkened sky--
If you have gone a little way ahead, oh, friend, call back--
'Twill cheer my heart and help my feet along the stony track."

Mrs. Charles E. Cowman said: “Life is a steep climb, and it does the heart good to have somebody 'call back' and cheerily beckon us on up the high hill . . . If anyone among us has found anything worthwhile, we ought to 'call back."

Last Saturday I cut out and completed this top piece for Jerry. He loves the wildlife of deer, raccoon, bear, wolf and moose! Maybe I'll go out today and buy backing for it!

My friends, He went with me into the storm and kept me when my roots were torn; He bore me up and held me close when the earthquake shook my heart; He heard me when my prayers were but a cry, and He saw me through the night's sin-darkened sky. My face glows with triumph and my feet continues the race. My God is FAITHFUL, you CAN trust Him to see you through!

"Do not walk through time without leaving worthy evidence of your passage"
Pope John XXIII, 1881-1963 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A Delightful Time

 An early Christmas, with Emma on the couch. Her muzzle was greying. She was a delightful dog!

Christmas was a quiet day in our home, with just Jerry and me to celebrate. We're use to that, being people who need solitude and quiet, and getting older only emphasizes that. God gave me something special this year so the quiet day of contemplation would make me smile.

Christmas Eve a thought caused me to find a journal I started in 2004. My friend, Paula, gave it to me for my 55th birthday, and I decided to write quotes and stories in it that encouraged my heart and made me smile.

Me, in younger years, with Cha Cha, my Mom's poodle. Sandy, also in younger years, with Cissy.

I started reading in it Christmas Eve and continued reading Christmas day. Reading through my entries brought happy memories, encouragement, inspiration, and laughing. I want to share some of them with you. The pictures are ones taped into the journal.

"Can't be alone with chocolate." Nestle Chocolatier

"The best things in life move slowly. They can hardly overtake one who is in a hurry. We are making haste to ill purpose if we 'haven't time' to read good books, to think quietly, to visit our friends, to comfort the sick and sorrowing, to enjoy the beautiful creations of God and man, and to lend a hand to a struggling brother. Time is precious, but more precious then fleeting hours are truth, love, benevolence, friendship, service, a serene mind and a happy heart, for these are the essence of life itself." Gilbert Hay, "Serenity Is"

"How beautiful it is to do nothing and rest afterwards."


 "If some bit of gossip come,  File the thing away.
If a scandalous, spicy crumb, File the thing away.
If suspicion comes to you That your neighbor is not true
Let me tell you what to do--File the thing away.
Do this for a little while, Then go out and burn the file."
Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, Streams in the Desert 2

"Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing." Robert Benchley

"A healthy perspective on household chores includes determining your maximum acceptable dirt level."

In richer days I made my own postage stamp with my "NOTE" worthy bird!

"A life may be very lovely and yet be insignificant in the world's eyes. A beautiful life is one that fulfills its mission in this world, that is, what God made it to be, and does what God made it to do . . . But the smallest life that fills its place well is far lovelier in God's sight than the largest and most splendidly gifted--yet fails its divine mission." Mrs. Charles E Cowman, Streams in the Desert 2

"A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference." Eeyore

"I have only made this [letter] longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter."
Blaise Pascal (1623-62)

Wishful thinking

"Few are needed to do the out-of-the-way tasks which startle the world, and one may be most useful just doing commonplace duties, and leaving the issue with God. And when it is all over, and our feet will run no more, and our hands are helpless, and we have scarcely strength to murmur a last prayer, then we shall see that, instead of needing a larger field, we have left untilled many corners of our single acre, and that none of it is fit for our Master's eye were it not for the softening shadow of the cross." George MacDonald

"Sticks and stones may break my bones . . ." but words will squeeze the very heartbeat from my heart, the breath from my soul, the lift from my walk, the twinkle from my eyes, and the hope from my day; please throw sticks and stones."

"He could watch cattle, which was very important for older people, and a good hobby for older men." The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Alexander McCall Smith

"Make a tape of yourself laughing and then play it when you feel sad."

A Lang note card. Yum Yum!


"There's one thing for which you should be thankful--only you and God have all the facts about yourself."

"The riches gifts we can bestow are the least marketable." Henry David Thoreau

"Always serve too much hot fudge sauce on hot fudge sundaes. It makes people overjoyed and puts them in your debt." Judtih Olney



"If I could walk but one single mile, I'd walk to the home of a friend." Kerry Boone

"Our hearts are restless, O God, until they find their rest in thee." Saint Augustine

I hope you enjoyed these sayings and that some made you laugh. I need to dig up some more of my journals and read through them. This has brought back some enjoyable memories.

May the rest of this Christmas celebration week bring happiness, joy and love to your heart! And may Jesus become the true meaning of your life.


Monday, December 17, 2018

All I Need

 I found this on Country Born's Facebook page and loved the simplicity of it; the peacefulness and calm. And although it's a cold winter night, it looks inviting and warm.


"I said to the Lord, 'You are my Lord, apart from you I have no good thing.'" Psalm 16:2

The following words come from the book "Voices of the Faithful." The book was written by Christians serving around the world. This story reminded me of my first Christmas in Brookville, when Christmas decorations were still packed, friends and family were not close, and I felt alone in a new land.


"In February 2002, my family was called to serve as missionaries in the Caribbean region. Except for clothing and some sentimental items, we sold most everything that belonged to us. This included the majority of our Christmas decorations, some of which we'd had most of my life. When our first Christmas on the field came, it was more difficult to be in the "Christmas spirit" because the familiar Christmas decorations were not displayed. The weather wasn't cold, and we definitely don't get snow. On top of that, we had no special friends or family to share the joy of the season.

"As I sought the Lord, I expected to hear something new about the circumstances surrounding the Christmas story. Instead, what I was shown was the actual heart of Christmas, which in turn changed my own heart. It occurred to me that while all these things symbolize Christmas, all of these things are not Christmas. I learned that Jesus is enough. Jesus is Christmas. When all the stuff--the lights, gifts, trees, food and even friends--was taken away, it came down to Jesus. He is the only reason to be celebrating. I learned that everything I need for Christmas and for my life, is found in Jesus. Apart from Him, 'I have no good thing.'"    Sarah, Middle America and the Caribbean

My friend, Kathy, always has a lovely Christmas window scene with beautiful glass. This one was from a few years ago.

This third Christmas in Brookville my decorations have been unpacked and are brightening our home. I have a new church family, friendly acquaintances, and I'm familiar with my surroundings. And it definitely is cold here! But this one fact remains: Jesus is enough. Jesus is Christmas.

So wherever you are this Christmas; whoever you're friends are, and whether your family is far away or close by; whatever decorations you have to brighten your home, Jesus is all you need. He is faithful. He is loving. He is alive within you. Christmas is in your heart.

Monday, December 10, 2018

That Encouraging Word

This post was first published December 2013 and the words will never grow old. I hope "That Encouraging Word" encourages your heart!  


This week, when you attend worship services at your church, go to work, volunteer at a local establishment, whether you are excited about the coming Christmas celebrations or hurting and discouraged about the festivities to come, look around and you will see someone whose heart needs encouraging. There are always people who are hurting at this season of the year.

Bring with you an extra baked treat, your smile, or an invitation to Christmas Eve festivities or Christmas dinner. Even a small inexpensive gift, wrapped beautifully, will delight a hurting someone.

Can you recall a time when you were hurting and discouraged, and someone came up to you and offered cheer? I sure do! And it was that invitation to Christmas dinner, and that invitation to attend Christmas Eve services, and that delicious homemade treat that helped me through hard Christmases.





The heart of Christmas is giving, and the most perfect gift is Jesus. He comes in many forms, and is always perfect. Your hands are His to share!

So look around you this year, at coworkers, neighbors, friends, check out workers at your favorite store, and give that special touch to light the heart of someone.

As I've encouraged you to give that special touch, I'll be doing the same thing this week to those who need a touch of God's encouragement. And while you're at it, how about a special note, or a friendly word to your pastor who stands before you every week and teaches God's Word. Each Sunday I'm filled with God's truth, knowing my pastor has studied and prayed about the message he brings.

Turn up your Christmas music, write that encouraging note, bake that delicious treat, make that cheerful telephone call, and make Christmas a happier time for someone else. You have the best gift of all in your heart. Share it with someone with a smile!

 
Even I need encouragement, and as I was reading through posts of earlier years, these words from my friend, Paula, when I was facing cancer treatment, helped me smile:

 "I know you believe God gives you the words to write in the encouraging notes you send. I believe that too. I also know you keep copies of all the notes you write. God is bringing those words back to you to encourage you heart. Read the notes and let Him bring refreshment to your soul."

"Encouragement is oxygen to the soul."
George M. Adams, 1878-1962

Monday, December 3, 2018

"Choices" Again

This month I'm going to re-post a few of my writings from earlier years. It's good to go back and reflect on happenings in your life. This one posted on November 30, 2016 and was titled "Choices."

I'm going to miss our little home all decorated for Christmas. We started putting lights and garland around the ceiling many years ago. I saw it in a house I passed going to and from work and just loved it. In earlier years I'd hang ornaments from the garland, but that got a little difficult as we aged. There's the little ceramic tree on the dining room table that Mom made. The snowmen on the mantle that we love. Our new home doesn't have a fireplace. I'll miss our wood stove and watching the fire burn. A soothing and cozy environment. But Abby and Jo will be with us! I'm not leaving them behind.

We all have to make choices in our life. Some choices will be joyful and happy. Some choices will be sad and heartbreaking. Nevertheless, we do what we have to do.

I had to make a choice to move. I didn't need to move. Didn't really want to move. But I finally said yes when God gave me peace about moving.

      I'll miss my gardens where I walk with God each morning in the spring, summer, and fall.

We're moving to another state, another town, another house. Usually when seniors move they downsize to a smaller home or a senior adult community. We're upsizing by 400 square feet!

Our lovely home which we've lived in for 31 years is small. Little kitchen, little dining room and living room combined. Little rooms. Half basement.

I'll miss the deer that come to our back gate. I loved seeing fawn! It was a thrill to have them come up and eat.

Once a woman told me they wouldn't hold a meeting in their home because it was too small. It just so happened that the meeting was going to be in our home that month so I told her to make sure she came.

The next month the meeting was held in her home which turned out to be 3 times bigger than ours. It's amazing what some people think. Yes, our home is small.

400 square feet is not a lot more room, but enough to make a difference! My writing room is bigger!!!! A regular size kitchen. A separate dining room. A full basement. Isn't it wonderful what a little can do!

I'll miss driving by Wilson's Farm and seeing the calves in springtime, and all seasons of the year as his cows graze.

Jerry's dream is coming true. He moved to Maryland with his family when he was 6. He's been trying to get back to Brookville ever since. It's been an emotional experience for him as he sees his dream coming true.

Me? I have peace about moving. It's been a difficult month seeing my friends and saying, "until we meet again." I'm going to find a half way point where we can meet once a year to enjoy each other.


            I'll miss my favorite field where I've taken hundreds of snaps of sheep and lamb.

I don't know anyone in Brookville. I've been in Maryland all my life so far. All my friends are here, with the exception of a few that have moved to other states. A whole bouquet of beautiful flowers. I'm trusting that God will bring new flowers into my life to add joy and love.

There will always be choices. We make the best choice we can and live with it. December 12 is moving day. I think I'll be ready. After all, I have a new land to experience and snap!


And experience it I have. With bear, deer and turkeys! Hard to believe it's been two years since we moved to Brookville. I still get a little homesick, missing my friends and the town where I lived 30 years and the area I lived around for 60 years. Life changes can be difficult. But this change brought me a new creative outlet: quilting. I'm thankful and happy to have found a new adventure in sewing. And who can complain about an ecstatic husband who finally came home to his hometown!

"Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns but will not encourage us to mistake them for home." C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)