Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Small Town Living

This lovely snap from Deb Campbell Wildlife and Nature Photography Facebook page reminds us that Spring has arrived and soon we'll be enjoying the beautiful creation as it awakes from it's winter's sleep.

I'm learning a lot about small town living. The other day a strange man came to our front door. He was elderly. When I opened the door he asked if I was Carol Mc Griffin.

He pulled out an envelope and said, "You sent a note to my wife." I recognized the envelope. I asked him to come in.

He pulled out two pictures from a shopping bag. "I wanted to bring these over so you can see who you wrote too," he said. "I wanted to know who wrote the note. I asked the secretary at church if she knew who it was?"

                      This enjoyable snap is by Pamela Davis. A fun snap of the welcome of Spring!

I've written many a note through my life, but no one has come to my home to see who I was. This is the country. They do things different here.

Jerry arrived home as we were talking, and the man stayed for an hour chatting. He was 80. He said he would come again and sit on the porch for awhile, and I know he will do it.

Things really are different in small towns. I've noticed it repeatedly as I go to town and interact with folks. They appear happier. They tip their hat, say hello or nod their head.

I've had to learn to be more open. To expect a hello. To offer one myself.

Looks like I have a lot to learn about small town living. I hope I can do it justice!

This dreamy snap comes from Peaceful Moments for Women Facebook page. I can just smile and dream away!

                                                                ⇜⇜⇜⇜⇜⇜

My Savoir First of All
Fanny Crosby 1820-1915


"When my life work is ended, and I cross the swelling tide,
When the bright and glorious morning I shall see;
I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,
And His smile will be the first to welcome me.

Oh, the soul thrilling rapture when I view His blessed face,
And the luster of His kindly beaming eye;
To the sweet vales of Eden they will sing my welcome home,
But I long to meet my Savior first of all."


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Big Storm


“Snow is falling outside and all is peaceful and still. In such moments it is possible to believe that the world could still be good.”                                                                      Richard Paul Evans, Grace
      

                                                          
Today is my birthday, and I got the greatest birthday present! A blizzard. Now I know many of you think I'm crazy, but, that's ok. Sunshine and blue skies. Warm temperatures and gentle breezes. Ocean and swimming pools.

I love mountains and streams, and flowers in the valley. And a spring day is a delight. But a snow storm has its own beauty uncomparable in my eyes.

When I was a child, playing in the snow was fun. School was out. A happy time building snowman and snow castles. Snowball fights.

When I was a young woman, snow meant a free day from work. An unexpected day on the calendar to do whatever I wanted. Be lazy. Drink hot chocolate.

“Close your eyes. Hear the silent snow. Listen to your soul speak.”
A.D. Posey

And over the years snow has an even more special attraction. It's beauty. It's sound. The description God uses to tell me my sins are as white as snow.



I've shared this poem before, but I love to read it again and again. It reminds me of a snowstorm that arrived without notice. I awoke one morning to find a blizzard outside. No warning from the weather station. I opened my back door, and then I heard it. Snow. This is how it sounded to me:

 "When I opened the back door I heard it
Snow
I was amazed at the sound
A whisper different from wind
Yet, precise; like nothing else I've ever heard
Snow falling from the heavens
My heart rested and listened
I couldn't keep away from my back door
I heard snow falling and thanked God."
Feburary 16, 2003
    Sunday morning, 7 a.m.

That image always comes up in my mind when I read God's Word about snow. Every time I ask God to forgive my sin, my mind travels to me opening the back door and seeing the blizzard in all it's glory.

There's a hymn that shares similar thoughts.

White As Snow
by Jon Foreman

"Have mercy on me, oh God  According to Your unfailing love
According to Your great compassion  Blot out my transgressions

Would You create in me a clean heart  Oh God
Restore in me  The joy of Your salvation

The sacrifices of our God  Are a broken and contrite heart
Against you and you alone have I sinned

Would You create in me a clean heart  Oh God
Restore in me  The joy of Your salvation

Wash me white as snow  And I will be made whole
Wash me white as snow

Would You create in me a clean heart  Oh God
Restore in me  The joy of Your salvation"

Isaiah 1:18

"Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together,' Says the LORD, 'Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool. If you consent and obey, You will eat the best of the land'"

If you're in the Northeast and buried under a ton of snow, take a few minutes to look at it through God's eyes. Pure. White. Clean. Sparkling. Now imagine, that's how God see's you after He washes you white as snow.

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”     ― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass



Thank you friends for the cards and good wishes. The joy of being a friend. And, happy birthday to me!



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Cold Water and Ice Cream

"We cannot hold a torch to light another's path without brightening our own."  Ben Sweetland

I was delighted and surprised when my friend, Kathy, better know as K2 to me, started her email message with Proverbs 25:25: "Like cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a distant land."

Well, I got ice cream for a weary soul! But that's the end of the story. It started something like this . .

Yes, I am in a distant land from all my friends. And I feel that distance too. There is email, telephone and snail mail (which I love the most), but knowing a friend is within my physical reach makes all the difference in the world.

We had an opportunity recently where I would have asked one of my friends to come by and check up on Mom. We had a distance to go and would be gone from the house a little longer than usual. But there is no one to call. No one to help.

Jerry suggested calling our new church, but I'm hesitant. I don't know anybody, and I knew Mom would feel uncomfortable having someone she doesn't know check up on her. And then there's the girls too. Everyone isn't comfortable around large dogs.

As it turned out, Mom came with us. It was a long trip, but she did ok.

Don't take for granted those who are your friends; who you depend upon, who willingly give of their time to help you. I'm a homebody and introvert and quiet to boot! so stepping out of my comfort zone and meeting people puts a weary load upon my shoulders.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I am writing those notes though. And recently, the secretary of the church thanked me and told me folks love them. Now that's an encouraging word!

Yes, I am in a distant land, but I'm still on this earth and have a part to play. I can still be found.

This is my birthday month. When the calendar turns over to March, I'm usually excited and planning breakfast, lunch and dinner dates with my friends. I celebrate all month!

This year will be different. There are no friends to plan a date with. But, my very best friend will never leave me. He's in a distant land too. One I'm going to one day. But He lives in my heart and I can find Him there. That's good news!

"You cannot say that you are friendless when Christ has said, 'Henceforth I call you not servants . . . but I have called you friends.'"                                                                                    Billy Graham

And this is where the ice cream comes in. After I wrote the above, my friend, Kathy, who started her email to me with the Proverbs verse, called to tell me she was coming up for my birthday! Her husband, Stephen, and her booked a room in DuBois, about 30 minutes from Brookville, for the sole purpose of coming up for girl talk and celebrating my birthday.

What a surprise and welcomed visit! Stephen went hiking while Kathy and I sat in their room and celebrated friendship. She even bought chocolate syrup to go with the ice cream just for me, and we played with our laptops so I could Messenger with her.

Yes, ice cream for a weary soul was good news indeed. Thank you, Kathy. Your visit was a sweet surprise!

And if that isn't enough, I'm celebrating more than my birthday in March! I'm 2 years cancer free. Thank you, God, and medicine.

                                 My favorite character and favorite food: Eeyore and Ice Cream!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

There Really is a Sweet Pea




You may remember at the end of my last post, I talked about a book titled: Sweet Pea and Friends: The Sheepover. I had read about the book on Susan Branch's blog post, and of course, I love sheep and lamb so I had to order the book.

I was tickled when the book came, but I soon realized I had much more than a book. All of the animals in the book live on a small farm in Essex, Vermont. The owners, John and Jennifer Churchman, have used their skills of photography, painting, storytelling and writing to give voice to the stories of the animals that live on their farm.


There is a second book out titled: Brave Little Finn. And they create cards from their storybooks, and yes, I've ordered a few. There are also fine art prints, collectibles and yarn. They're also on Facebook as they tell the adventures of their barn yard. (www.sweetpeafriends.com)
                                                    How could I resist this sweet card!

I always love to read a story where people "fall into" a new career. It's worth your time to see their webpage and enjoy a few smiles. I'm sure glad I found Sweet Pea!

A few words . . .

Words. They can really affect your heart. As I go through my hymnal each morning, reading the verses, the words songwriters come up with never fails to move me. The following words  touched my heart recently.

"Like the arching of the heavens, lift my thoughts above; Turn my dreams to noble action, Ministries of love."
                                                                                                       God, Who touches Earth with Beauty
                                                                                                                        by Mary S. Edgar, verse 4

I know my actions are certainly not noble (possessing excellent qualities, especially in one's character), but I like to think sometimes they are. I recently read a sentence that went something like this: "Everyone sins, but for the Christian who is strong in faith and tries to live according to God's Word, sin is the exception. One tries very hard to do right. It is those who sin without conscience and live in their sin that reject Christ and does wrong."

"Great tranquility has he who cares neither for praise nor criticism. He will be content whose conscience is pure.  You are not more holy if you are praised; nor more worthless if you are criticized  What you are, that you are; words cannot make you greater than who you are in the sight of God." Thomas A Kempis (c. 1380-1471)

As I continue to go through boxes in the basement I uncover special memories. The other day was one of those times.


Many years ago I found the above book at Lang and it tugged at my heart. The drawing on the front expressed my feelings for friends. I was able to purchase a few of the books and gave them to special friends. There was also a figurine of the drawing on the front that I was able to gift a few of my friends with.


I haven't found my figurine yet, but hope to uncover it soon. You can buy the book on Amazon, and ebay has a number of different figurines from the Special Friends series. This figurine is of Kate & Molly! I think there were a series of Special Friends figurines.

And each day I find my new home is becoming just a little bit more like . . . home.




Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Everyday Life . . . with Hope

"I am grateful for the hope that steadies like an anchor . . . unwavering. The hope in your soul never diminishes and has the power to lift your spirit and bring peace to your heart."

I was out last Saturday morning driving those back roads and dirt roads and came upon this sign on a barn. It just tickled me!

Now where is that snow! We're almost through February and the pickings have been few. I even bought long underwear before we moved anticipating the cold and snow, but it still sits in my dresser drawer.

And I've noticed there's a lot of mud around here because the ground is always wet. There isn't a walk or driveway up to our front door. The parking area is about 45 feet from the house. By the time we reach the front door or go down to the car, a lot of mud follows. When the ground dries in the spring, we're having a walk and driveway put in up to the front of the house. Until then, ugh.

Last week I had a problem with my tablet that I couldn't fix. After a few hours on the telephone with Comcast I was ready to let it go. My friend, Cindy, who suggested I get a tablet when I was going through treatment, suggested I might want to get a laptop.

So I've bought a laptop! I'm patiently waiting for it's arrival. I will probably call a computer geek to come get it hooked up. I'm not taking any chances of trying to set it up myself.

And my phone died too. We dreaded going to the phone store. Past experiences haven't been good. But I was able to get another old fashion flip phone and all my numbers were transferred. (At least I think they were. Jerry lost a few of his.) Maybe next time I'll get a smart phone. Can't move to quickly with new gadgets.

But no matter what concerns and problems are going on in my life, the hope I carry in my heart steadies like an anchor . . . unwavering. I can't imagine going through life without the hope of God.

"O hope! Dazzling, radiant hope! What a change thou bringest to the hopeless; brightening the darkened paths, and cheering the lonely way." Aimee Semple Mcpherson (1890-1944)

A few more of the bookmark I created with "hope."

 

 
And I'll leave you with this adorable picture! I was reading Susan Branch's most recent blog post
(www.susanbranch.com) about her trip to Vermont, and she shared visiting the Warren Store in Warren, Vermont. Among many other things, they have a cute children's book called: Sweet Pea &
Friends: The SheepOver.
It is irresistible! I've placed my order and can't wait until it gets here. How can you resist this little face!





Wednesday, February 15, 2017

"Hope" Goes a Long Way

"Hope is one of the greatest gifts we have been given by our heavenly Father. It carries no price tag but its value is priceless. We cling to it when the future looks uncertain and praise it when things turn out better than we could have ever imagined. Hope is the foundation on which we build our dreams and aspirations. It has been the cornerstone upon which ordinary people have accomplished extraordinary things. Hope will always endure." Sandy Lynan Clough, Hope


The last several days I've been in a creating mode. I've been creating new bookmarks with the word "hope," one of my favorite words! Not having made any friends yet, most of my note writing will be to people I don't know. I want to put something inside my notes that will make them smile.

"Hope not only bears up the mind under sufferings but makes her rejoice in them." G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936)


"There is a story of an old man who carried a little can of oil with him everywhere he went, and if he passed through a door that squeaked, he poured a little oil on the hinges. If a gate was hard to open, he oiled the latch. And thus he passed through life lubricating all hard places and making it easier for those who came after him. People called him eccentric, queer, and cranky; but the old man went steadily on refilling his can of oil when it became empty, and oiled the hard places he found." Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, Streams in the Desert

He was bringing a little sunshine into the lives of others by doing his part. Bringing sunshine is a lot like giving hope. The oil of good cheer to the downhearted is bringing sunshine into their life. It's giving hope to one who's hopeless, that needs a little help.


"Behind the cloud the starlight lurks, Through showers the sunbeams fall;
For God, who loveth all his works Has left his hope with all!" John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)


"The word which God has written on the brow of every man is hope." Victor Hugo (1802-1885)


"The word hope I take for faith; and indeed hope is nothing else but the constancy of faith." John Calvin (1509-1564)


What extraordinary thing will you accomplish today by giving hope to another! "Hope" goes a long way.