Wednesday, October 19, 2016

For a Little While

                                Last year's beauty found one fall morning as I drove around.

It's time to take a break from my blog posts. My blog was created February 19, 2009, and I've been creating new posts every week for most of that time.

Some changes are happening here on Ridge Road that will take a lot of my time. So I'm going to break away for a spell and concentrate on other things.

If you have enjoyed these weekly posts, there are a lot of old ones, of similar flavor, that you are welcome to read. And, when I get a nice snap or two, I just might post them for you to see. You can find old posts by date down the right side of the blog.

My posts are my witness to Jesus, my Lord and Savior. I write to encourage hearts and direct their thoughts to God and his creation.

God is at work. I'll resume one day and tell you all about what life is doing here on Ridge Road.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Those Words Again

               I hope to find some of this color soon! It's so hard waiting for the leaves to change.

I was sitting here waiting for the leaves to change color, and it started me thinking about snow. It just did. I decided I would do a Shutterfly book with my pictures of snow, and started the process this morning.

While I was looking through my journals to find quotes and stories about snow, my eyes feasted on other entries I've written down. My heart was encouraged and I laughed! so I thought I'd share some with you!

These are from Carol's Thoughtful Book, 2008-2009:

"John Bunyan was once asked a question about heaven which he could not answer because the matter was not revealed in the Scriptures. He advised the inquirer to live a holy life, then go and see."

"Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by a fire?" C. S. Lewis

"Prescription for a happier and healthier life: resolve to slow your pace; learn to say no gracefully; resist the temptation to chase after more pleasures, hobbies and more social entanglements; then 'hold the line' with the tenacity of a tackle for a professional football team." James C. Dobson

"I am now officially too old to die young. It is the autumn of life and all of my organs have headed south. It takes longer to rest than to get tired. There is nothing left to learn the hard way. Life isn't about young and old; it's about dead and alive--and I'm alive." Charles Lowery

"Solitude is for me a fount of healing which makes my life worth living. Talking is often a torment for me, and I need many days of silence to recover from the futility of words." Carl Gustav Jung (oh how I relate!)

"I am sorry for men who do not read the Bible every day. I wonder why they deprive themselves of the strength and the pleasure." Woodrow Wilson

"Always do right. This will surprise some people and astonish the rest." Mark Twain

"Laughter is the most beautiful and beneficial therapy God ever granted humanity." Charles R. Swindoll

"Language has created the word 'loneliness' to express the pain of being alone, and the word 'solitude' to express the glory of being alone." Paul Johannes Oskar Tillich

"Little strokes fell great oaks." Benjamin Franklin

"It rained so hard that all the pigs got clean, and all the people dirty." Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those who sang best." Unknown

"Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. 'Pooh?' he whispered. 'Yes, Piglet?' 'Nothing' said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand. 'I just wanted to be sure of you.'"

"Writing is not easy for most of us. Dr. Gaines Dobbins . . . was a prolific writer. Someone said to him: 'You must enjoy writing.' He responded, 'No. I enjoy having written.' (I identify)

Now, have those leaves changed color yet?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

On the Mountaintop . . . for Real!

"In the beginning, when this great universe lay in the mind of God, like unborn forests in the acorn-cup; long ere the echoes waked the solitudes, before the mountains were brought forth, and long ere the light flashed through the sky, God loved his chosen creatures."
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)

                                                                        Spruce Knob

There I was, all by myself, on top of the world! 4863 feet. The highest point in West Virginia. And it was a long drive to the top!

Spruce Knob was one of the places I wanted to go as I drove through Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. The sky was a striking blue and the temperature was pleasant. I wanted to have a "mountaintop" experience in the land of wild and wonderful.

Half way up the gravel and dirt road, two work trucks passed. Other than those trucks, I was virtually alone on this winding road and slow drive. Just when I was beginning to wonder if I'd made a wrong turn, another work machine, leveling the dirt, came by. I flagged him down and said: "I think I may be lost." He replied, "You're not lost. You're right here." It made me smile.

I'd been on top of Pike's Peak in Colorado once, with a friend, but this was the first time I reached the summit alone. That last 1,000 yards started my heart a fluttering! No railings protected the side of the road coming back down, and I got as close to the other side as I could. I also came down the wrong side of the dirt road when I left. I wasn't taking any chances! and I was very glad there was no wind.

We often talk about having a "mountaintop" experience, whether it's on top of a mountain or in the coziness of our home. John Hamby says: "It is from the mountain top spiritual experiences that we gain the encouragement and strength to face the difficult times."

I've had my share of "mountaintop" experiences with the Living Lord. Nothing can compare to knowing God is with you and helping you each day. Yet there's something to being on top of the world, alone, and looking at God's creation.

I did find a blacktop road for my descend back to level ground and stopped at a restaurant for an ice cream sundae! I needed to celebrate! I was back down to earth!

My four days driving around mountains and winding roads were thrilling, and God didn't disappoint with the beauty of His creation.

I chose a trip to West Virginia so I could visit a dear friend I hadn't seen in 35 years. We had been sister-in-laws in my 20s and stayed in touch until my early 30s. With life changes we lost touch. Then, in 2014, I found her daughter on Facebook and was reunited with my friend, who was now a sister-in-Christ.

What a glorious time we had being together and sharing our hearts.

God always seems to surprise me with the desires of my heart! One morning as I began the day I came upon a cow with two new born calves! You know me and my baby animals! What a way to start my day!

My lodging was at an Inn in the valley and provided quiet, calm and a refreshing view. They had their own family of deer which I was happy to watch as they lingered in the field. I stayed in the "Garden Room" at the Inn and came back each day to sit in a garden and rest.

In the lower part of the forest is the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and it is against the law to use a cell phone. For an hour north, south, east and west there was no cell service. I admit, when I was at the top of Spruce Knob, I was wishing I had cell service!

You never know what you'll find around each curve in the road. When I came up on this old gas station and the little green truck I just had to stop and take a picture.

I loved this farm I came upon with the mountains completely covered with fog. One of many curves in the road that provided delicious scenes!

I even found this house snuggled up to the mountains and decided I could live there!

It was a wonderful few days away from the grind of life to appreciate a little bit of heaven in the mountains of West Virginia. All of this wouldn't have been possible without Jerry staying home and caring for Mom. He gave me his blessing to go and have fun. And that's just what I did!

"Does not all nature around me praise God? If I were silent, I should be an exception to the universe. Does not the thunder praise him as it rolls like drums in the march of the God of armies? Do not mountains praise him when the woods upon their summits wave in adoration? Does not the lightning write his name in letters of fire. Has not the whole earth a voice? And shall I, can I, silent be?"
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A "Paper Missionary" Writer

What a treat! My hibiscus bushes are blooming again. I've enjoyed looking at these beauties for over a week now. What a gift for the end of summer!

I'm not a big fan of nearly all the shows one can watch on TV, or go to the movies to see. A good book captures most of my free time instead of a television show.

Soon after I gave my life to Christ in November of 1978, the first Christian romance novel was published in 1979. Many of you are now familiar with Janette Oke and her book series, Love Comes Softly. That one book began an avalanche of Christian writers telling stories girls love to read.

I confess, I do enjoy a good romance novel. But when I gave my life to Christ that 14th day of November, I wanted novels with morality, faith, courage, perseverance and many other qualities that would speak to me about living a Christ-filled life.

When Hallmark came out with a movie from the first Love Comes Softly book in 2003, I was excited. And I wasn't disappointed.

More recently Hallmark came out with a movie and series by Oke's When Calls The Heart series in 2013, I was delighted with the first season. The second season wasn't quite as good. I haven't seen the third season because I go to bed early. It will be out soon on DVD.

I don't like everything Hallmark does. The Cedar Cove series and Chesapeake Shores, now playing, are becoming like Peyton Place, for those of us that remember. I'm hoping When Calls The Heart doesn't disappoint in the third season.

I watched an interview with Janette Oke and the producers of the Love Comes Softly and When Calls The Heart series. In her first book it was so refreshing to read about a man who is honest, genuine, a good person and a godly man. We don't see that in TV shows and movies of our culture. This man exists! Our young people need to see a man of virtue to learn and understand what it means to be a man of God.

They also discussed the difference between a book and the movie that portrays it. The writers said they could never match up to the original experience of the reader and their imagination. A movie must be a new experience, fresh and exciting on it's own, yet keeping the underlying faith and integrity as the story is presented. I found that interesting.

I read the biography of Janette Oke, written by her daughter, many years ago. As a writer I'm always interested in another writer's life. I've pulled the book out from storage and, I'm enjoying reading about her once again.

"She tried to picture each one of her little books as a little 'paper missionary.' It had the potential, through the spirit's working, to reach a heart crying out for truth and answers somewhere, and she prayed often as she wrote that this would be so," wrote her daughter, Laurel Oke Logan.

It is delightful to listen to folks share when you know their hearts are faithful to provide good decent shows to watch.

You remember Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie. Series that the entire family could enjoy together. They are classics!

So this post I give credit to Janette Oke who provided interesting and clean books for a baby Christian to read to help her on her road to maturity. We all need role models, and I seek strong, wise women and men to help me along the way. Because what you put before your eyes and hear with your ears surely stays there. And I want it to be good!

By the way, if you've never watched Hallmark's Signed, Sealed, Delivered series, grab a Yoohoo (remember them) and settle down for another series of delightful  characters and good entertainment! Oliver, Shane, Rita
and Norman will provide laughter and smiles as they work to deliver dead mail in the Dead Letter office.

So I ask you, just what are you looking at? What you put before your eyes and in your ears will definitely stay there. I want it to be good!

My next post will be in two weeks: Wednesday, October 5th. Next week I'll be driving down the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia singing John Denver's "Country roads, take me home to the place I belong.  West Virginia, mountain mamma, take me home, country roads."

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Just a Little Humor

I'm dog sitting this week with two of my favorite friends, Delaney and Aspen! Both have a sweet temper. Aspen is happy, loving, happy, and Delaney is gentle, slow, peaceful. And they both love me!

"It takes both the rain and the sunshine to make a rainbow." unknown

Martin Luther, a German monk and prominent theologian, began the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century in Europe. His desire for people to feel closer to God led him to translate the Bible into the language of the people. I found the following story interesting which Billy Graham shares in his devotion book Unto the Hills.

"There is a story about Martin Luther going through a period of depression and discouragement. For days his long face graced the family table and dampened the family's home life. One day his wife came to the breakfast table all dressed in black, as if she were going to a funeral service. When Martin asked her who had died, she replied, 'Martin, the way you've been behaving lately, I thought God had died, so I came prepared to attend His funeral.'" Unto the Hills, Billy Graham

Although I like the humor I know living with depression can be very hard. I've had my share, and continue to take medicine to help both depression and headaches which have lived with me most of my adult life.

                                               I'm looking forward to the beauty of fall.

Depression happens to most people at some time or other, as the story shows with Martin Luther. Both great and small can be afflicted through their life.

Please know I'm not saying you can talk someone out of depression which Martin's wife was hoping to do. Christians can be depressed as well as any other person. There can be a chemical imbalance that can only be helped through medicine.

That being said, I liked the story. It is hard living with someone who suffers from depression. Just ask Jerry. He's had a lot of practice.

"Fits of depression come over most of us. Usually cheerful as we may be, we must at intervals be cast down. The strong are not always vigorous, the wise not always ready, the brave not always courageous, and the joyous not always happy. There may be here and there men of iron . . . but surely the rust frets even these." Charles Swindoll

I've learned you just keep moving on . . . doing something good for someone else . . . meeting a friend for lunch. Do things that you enjoy doing. Volunteer. Help someone. And most important, call on God.

"Only eyes washed by tears can see clearly." Louis L. Mann

         Abby and Jo are still happy little girls! Devoted to their master. Ninety pounds of love!

Last Monday, September 12th, was National Chocolate Milkshake Day, and I didn't participate. I love chocolate milkshakes. Grew up on them when Daddy made them in our kitchen and continued the tradition through most of my adult life. Unfortunately, I don't take too well to milkshakes anymore. Now that's really depressing!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Why Does It Take So Long?

Last Saturday was my last "fawn spotting" for the season. What a wonderful time I've had this summer. I'm so glad I started doing this my first summer of retirement.

Well, this is certainly an embarrassing post! Sometimes I just have to shake my head at myself and wonder where my brain is.

Why does it take so long to get some things right? You know what I mean. You're doing something a certain way and all of a sudden something changes and you realize you can do it better. "Why didn't I think of that a month a go? A year ago? Many years ago?"

I always shake my head that I didn't think to do whatever it was a different way. And it's happened again. This time it took me five years to get it right. Humble pie.

                                                           Are you sharing, Mom?

Since my retirement five years ago, I've had a difficult time with when to have my devotions. I just couldn't seem to get it right. I now had all day! I tried morning, afternoon and evening, but I haven't felt peaceful about anything I've tried.

Abby and Jo to the rescue. My two little girls (well, at 90 lbs. each I guess they're not little) had a time change in their routine. Ever since my cancer treatments and knee surgeries, their feeding times have been off because of us adjusting our schedule to work for us. My friend urged me to try adjusting their time.

About six weeks ago, I started getting up at 5 in the morning to feed them. (I like to think I'm a farmer and getting up for my cows.) That's when it happened. That "oh yes" moment of remembrance.

Most of my 30+ years as a Christian, the early morning hour before getting ready for work was my devotion time. It was the best time for me to fulfill this delight each day. And I was inspired and encouraged all day! Duh, Carol, why couldn't I remember that!

I had just turned off the car in the cemetery hoping to see the doe and three fawn again, when I saw this doe and fawn in the field. Light was low, but I managed to get a fairly clear snap.

So about four weeks ago I started having my devotions at 5 a.m. And what a wonderful time I've been having. I guess since I retired I felt I could sleep a little later in the mornings. And so I tried everything else but that.

Why do things happen like that? I guess it's just part of living.

I'm just glad God never gives up on us! He patiently waits while we try everything but the right thing. I know He's smiling that I finally got it right!

I like this Jewish Proverb: "Any man who understands his own foolishness is already a little wise."