Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Challenger, A Bald Eagle, and more . . .

Abby had to visit her veterinarian last week. Dr. Charlotte said "everything looked good and you're so beautiful!" (Did you hear that Dad?)

Have you ever seen Challenger fly at a football game? I saw it the first time from a Facebook post. I always cry when I hear our national anthem sung, and I choked up crying when I saw Challenger fly.


There are still some things about America that you can be proud of. I am a proud American when I hear our national anthem sung. Most of us know when the song was created. The lyrics come from "Defense of Fort M'Henry, a poem written in 1814 by the 35 year old lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort Henry by British ships of the Royal Navy in Baltimore Harbor during the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812.

We have the American flag in our front yard. Another indication that we are proud to be an American. In these times you must dwell on good things, and, yes, there are good things still happening in America. I see many of these good deeds posted on Facebook. Ah, a redeeming quality.

There's a lot of bad things happening in America, and always will be, until Jesus comes a second time. But there's still a lot of good in people. And there's a lot we can be thankful for.

The season of celebration is before us, with Thanksgiving tomorrow, and then the joy of Christmas. As I wrote about in last week's post, consider what you are thankful for. And maybe when you shed a tear hearing the national anthem play, or when you see Challenger fly, who represents the national bird for the United States, you will stand tall and proud and hope that the best of America shines!

. . . . . . . . .

I did it again. I bought another book that cost $40. I just couldn't turn it down. It's all those great pictures I see that come across Facebook and draw me in.

Grizzly: The Bears of Greater Yellowstone. Renowned wildlife photographer, Thomas D. Mangelsen, has an eye for great pictures. For the past few years he's been documenting a bear family with his pictures, and what phenomenon pictures they are!

Todd Wilkinson, environmental journalist, adds the story after much research, writing and collaboration with Mangelsen. You learn abut the history of grizzly bears and the success and failures that have occurred through the years. It's a very revealing and interesting story.

Grizzly 399 had 3 sets of triplets, 2 sets of twins and a single cub. I thought I got a great snap of fawns nursing. There's several snaps in the book of the cubs nursing. The book truly thrilled me as I learned about this wildlife creature.

Now, I just have to stop seeing more pictures on Facebook so I don't have to buy $40 books again!

. . . . . . .

Hair. I have hair!  (Piglet's laughing too!) It feels so good to run a comb through my hair!  My pony tail was all cut off last December when I started the cancer treatments. It's a little thinner on top, and a little curly, but it's hair! When I think about that time, it's like I was in a different world. I can't comprehend going through that. I've had two follow ups since then, and all looks good so far. I'm thankful! Maybe next December I'll have my pony tail back!


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I want to thank my friends for caring for me, and praying for me, and lifting me up during the physical trials I went through this year. The Body of Christ is alive and well! (And there goes another tear.)


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Who Are You Thankful For?

      The last of the leaves were down last week, so here's a few snaps in honor of  the beauty of Fall!

My pastor's sermon last Sunday morning reminded me of an annual project I passionately participated in for well over 20 years. Pastor's title was: Who Are You Thankful For? He spoke from the first chapter of Philippians, verses 3-8 where Paul wrote that remarkable line, "I have you in my heart."

Each November I welcomed the beginning of November Joy. I've written about this project a number of times on this blog. I have not been faithful the last few years in doing this, but I present it to you, once again, to decide if you have time for November Joy this month.

Each year, when the calendar turned over to November, I began recalling those people who I had been most thankful for in that year. Then I would write each one a note, telling them what they meant to me. A very worthy project of thanksgiving that truly blessed my heart as I remembered each person.

In this modern day and age, it could be a text, email, call or visit, and a few other means I'm not familiar with yet, that you send to thank someone. I just shared a post from my Facebook site about the Thanksgiving and Christmas season my friend, Judi, shared. Not everyone is from a large, wonderful family. Many of us have sadness in our hearts and are broken. One word from you can change a person's outlook and carry them through Thanksgiving and Christmas, and perhaps, as I have learned, their future life!

We're only a week before the celebration of Thanksgiving with families and friends, but perhaps you have a little time to consider this suggestion. "I have you in my heart." A noteworthy deed!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Fine Possession

"My most cherished possession I wish I could leave you is my faith in Jesus Christ, for with Him and nothing else you can be happy, but without Him you'll never be happy." Patrick Henry, 1736-1799

                                                                Tea time in the fall.

That's how my dictionary described it. A fine possession handed down from generations. And I have the best possession to hand down!

A recent reading in "Devotions from the Garden" with Miriam Drennan (see blog post July 7, 2015) talked about heirloom plants. "Some heirloom plants have been passed down for hundreds of years, and the reasons are as diverse as the plants themselves: better flavor, better texture, sentimental value, no genetic modifications, etc."

Drennan continues: "The prophet Joel spoke of another type of heirloom--a spiritual one. We don't have much information about this man of God, but we do have the message God spoke through him, urging the elders of Judah to pass down God's lesson to the younger generations."

                                 I love seeing and walking through leaves on the ground.

Yes, we are to hand down our spiritual legacy so that others can know the God we love. It is urgent as God's plan continues to unroll until the time of the rapture of the church. We've seen first hand that those who live for and serve Jesus Christ are now being persecuted in the United States. The need to pass down God's Word is of great importance to this generation.

God makes this clear in His Word in Psalm 145:4-7:

"One generation commends your works to another;
    they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
    and I will meditate on your wonderful works.[b]
They tell of the power of your awesome works—
    and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They celebrate your abundant goodness
    and joyfully sing of your righteousness."

I went out riding one day to get some fall snaps, and came home to find this lovely scene from my kitchen window in my neighbor's back yard!

The prayer at the end of the devotion says " . . . I long to build a spiritual legacy that honors You by pointing to You. Enable me to boldly pass along my spiritual treasures to those who will journey behind me."  The posts I put on my blog each week is one small way I share my spiritual legacy.

You may have a few heirlooms that have been passed down to you from your parents or grandparents. But remember, your greatest heirloom is your faith. Pass it on.

Stand tall. Stand strong. Stand for the good news!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

History on My Wrist

Between Hancock and Breezewood on Rt. 70.
My charm bracelet. It was found when we sold my mother's house in 2012. I hadn't seen it for many a year. Since then I've been keeping it in the writing room, laid out for me to see, but a new opportunity has arose!

Lady friends. Did you have a charm bracelet when you were growing up? They've been around a long, long time. I read two articles on the web and one placed it in the Neolithic era, the Roman Empire, Knights and Middle Ages, early 20th century through the Greatest Generation. (Don't ask me what the Neolithic era is.) By the 1950s, the charm bracelet was a must-have accessory for girls and women.
  In Jacki Lyden's book Charmed Bracelets she says: " . . . the most irresistible and alluring thing about a charm bracelet is it's ability to tell a story unique to its owner . . . Truly, to wear one is to wear your history upon your sleeve." Jacki also said: "Charm bracelets express who a woman is in a subtle way, simultaneously giving a whimsical little nod to her style while also serving as a record of remembrance of her life."

I don't remember when mine was started, somewhere in junior or senior high school. It was complete before I reached the age of 20. And then for me, it got lost through the ages until I found it again in 2012.

Forty years have now passed and some of the charms don't apply to my life anymore. Like those two fish on the top left. And the canoe in the middle. Sandy's father was a fisherman and those were purchased because of him. Fish are too smelly for me! And the "pin money" down the right side, with a real dollar bill. I think it's worth a lot less now than it was then.

The other charms are accurate for my life history: sewing, which took me into my 20s; playing the piano, many enjoyable visits to West Virginia, working as a typist, graduating from High School, working at the telephone company, and driving not one, but 4 Volkswagon bugs. Each depict a time period in my life that brought me much joy.

And now a new opportunity! Just last week Jerry asked me what I wanted for our 30th anniversary in December. (That 14 date again.) I've decided my charm bracelet is going to get an update from my 20s forward!

I want to add a charm for friends. I found out how
good it is to have friends and count them among my greatest blessings.

My charm bracelet wouldn't be complete without a charm about my faith. The Bible has sustained me throughout my life, after I was saved in 1978, and my faith continues to be a guiding light for me.

I want to add a charm for encouraging others through note
writing. This is the gift God gave to me, and I've been
exceedingly blessed because of it.

I want to add a charm for the HOPE I have through my
Savior, Jesus Christ. That HOPE is my driving force
that enables me to live each day knowing I serve a God
that has complete control of my life.

I want to add a charm for my marriage that has last
30 years, December 14, 1985 to December 14, 2015.

I think I'm going to hang the bracelet in a shadow box where I can see it often and remember special times in my life.

We all have enough bad memories. It's nice to be reminded of good times in your own life. As God 's Word says:

" . . . whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." I think my charm bracelet provides opportunities to dwell on good things in my life.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Brilliance of Fall

This tree sits directly behind a house. I had to walk in the back yard to be able to get a snap. I just love the hammock tied to the tree. You can see some of the leaves on the hammock that have fallen.

Last Saturday morning I took a drive to find fall color. I wasn't disappointed! It was everywhere, and beautiful. I drove east and roamed around on familiar and unfamiliar roads. What a great morning!

I drove around to the other side of the house above to take a picture, and I was surprised to see the difference in color on the west side. Nevertheless, it was still beautiful!

Following are some of the snaps I took.

          I enjoyed seeing this fountain grass in fall color. It was a nice display with the white fence.

 Bright yellows are so pretty to see!
I thought this house front was well dressed for fall!
Passed many landscapes with brilliant color!
This pond is just across the street from our house.
So many roads were alive with color like this one!
I first saw the underside of this tree and liked it!
The lane to a farm was nicely dressed.
Saw this horse on a hillside beside this flaming tree.
Liked this tree with the rail fence.
This last snap is one of my favorites from a previous year.

They lined a lane for about 300 yards. This was a scene I saw several roads away and I went searching for it.

Fall. A lovely time of year. After all the glory of spring and summer flowers, warm temperatures and sunny skies, God brings fall with brilliant color and cooler temperatures. I love every season of the year. I'm not liking the cold of winter as I use too, but the symbolism of pure snow that covers our sin still thrills my soul!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

One of My FavoriteThings

We had our first fire Saturday evening when the temperatures were headed down. I've been enjoying that fire for about 30 years now and always look forward to the warmth of it's flames.
Friends. Are you one? Do you have a friend? William James (1842-1910) said: "Wherever you are, it is your friends who make your world."

We all have family, and a few of us have enjoyed families as God's gift, but many of us don't have good memories or relationships in our families. That's why friend's are so important to me. They fill the gap where my blood relations end.

"The happiest miser on earth is the man who saves up every friend he can make." Robert Emmet Sherwood (1896-1955)

Some of you might remember this snap taken on my 55th birthday when I had a "Celebration of Friends" party to honor the friends in my life. What a picture of lovely women! My story today is about Rachel, set apart by the heart around her face.

Monday morning I had the joy of visiting with my friend, Rachel. If you know me, you know I love my friends. They're one of the best gifts God has given me through all ages of my life. That party was on a beautiful day and honored my beautiful friends! One from elementary school through all the years up to that birthday.

I met Rachel in a Sunday School class and we've been friends ever since. She writes notes too, and I love to find one of her notes in the mail. Older by 10 years, Rachel is a mature Christian who I love to talk with. Rachel and I had a wonderful time talking and sharing about life. I floated home, filled with love and joy.

I still try and meet each friend at least two times a year, although I'm getting a little slower as the years go by.  Each friend brings a different flavor of joy into my life.

Have you ever celebrated your friends? Have you let them know how precious they are to you? As we've all heard, you must be a friend to get a friend.

When you have a friend, just the thought of her/him can impress your mind with goodness and comfort.

I mentioned the song "Friends" last week written by Michael W. Smith and Deborah D. Smith. I agree completely with the chorus:  "And friends are friends forever, If the Lord's the Lord of them And a friend will not say never 'Cause the welcome will not end."

So I encourage you to celebrate your friends. It will be a time you'll never forget! Thank you, God, for my friends.

And most wonderful of all is said very well by Oswald Chambers (1874-1917), the author of My Utmost for His Highest, who said: "The dearest friend on earth is a mere shadow compared with Jesus Christ." And that's the truth!

This lovely scene is one of my favorites! It was a beautiful, sunny day, and I just happened along to find it. That delightful serendipity experience!