" ... he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."

Encourager . . . Notewriter . . . Friend . . . Photographer . . . NOTEworthy Card Creations

I'm a notewriter at heart and bring encouragement to the lives of others through note writing. Proverbs 11:25, above, is my life verse. Touching someone's life through a note is everlasting. The note is always available for the receiver to read at any time. You can be "NOTE"worthy for God too!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The End Always Comes

            On my Saturday morning fawn hunt, I found these two early in the morning enjoying
             rest under this large shrub. They let me snap pictures for 10 minutes as they got up
                                                            and strolled around.

The end always comes . . . end of summer specifically. I know, summer officially ends on September 22nd, but in our hearts summer ends Labor Day weekend. After all, that's when all the programs start and schools begin their new year.

The end of summer is before us and those lazy days of  sitting under a tree day dreaming are dwindling. This summer was like a cool breeze blowing by us, refreshing the soul. Extreme heat? No. Humid days? No. Scorching sun? No. Thankful heart? YES!

I like Martin Luther's comparing of the gospel when talking about summer: "The gospel is like a fresh, mild, and cool air in the extreme heat of summer; a solace and comfort in the anguish of the conscience." We certainly achieved that this summer!

God is in control of all the seasons. I've seen about 260 seasons in my life. I can always count on each season to arrive and display their beauty. "There is no season such delight can bring As summer, autumn, winter and the spring." Williams Brownen   Every season displays its own beauty.

Verse two in the hymn "Sing to the Lord of Harvest" says:

                                  "By Him the rolling seasons In fruitful order move;
                                  O Sing to the Lord of harvest; A song of happy love."

      This little one wasn't bothered by me at all. I like the way the fence rails have framed the fawn.

The end also comes to each day. We live the routine of each day, doing those things planned out, and then let the day go when our heads hit the pillow. I like the second verse of the hymn "Day by Day."

"Every day the Lord Himself is near me With a special mercy for each hour,
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me, He whose name is Counselor and Pow'r.
The protection of His child and treasure - Is a charge that on Himself He laid,
As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure, This the pledge to me He made."

                      This group of doe and fawn were just slowly walking around eating.
    The closest fawn kept walking closer to me. It must have been wondering, "Who is that kook."

I like Ralph Waldo Emerson's description of a day: "Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays."

And then there's the end of life. When will mine end? Am I doing all I can each day, each season? What am I called to do? Am I doing it? Am I ready for my life to end? An interesting quote I share from Fyodor Mikhaylovich  Dostoyevski (1821-1881):

"Believe to the end, even if all men go astray and you are left the only one faithful; bring your offering even then and praise God in your loneliness."

     I finished my normal Saturday morning route and turned around, as I always go back the same way I came. I found another fawn by itself resting in a yard. I'd say, that was a banner photo shoot!

Yes, the end comes to many things. But our assurance is true: "I know that my Redeemer lives." Job 19:25

"The foundation of Job's comfort lay in that one little word my -- 'my Redeemer' -- and in the fact that the Redeemer truly lives. Oh, to take hold of the living Christ! We must have a claim to Him before we can enjoy Him . . . A living Redeemer who is truly mine is 'inexpressible and glorious joy."   Charles Spurgeon

"He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them."  Hebrew 7:25

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for another season, another day, until that day I'm called away and the end finally comes to take me to a glorious beginning!

                                  Over and over and over again: "My bone. No, my bone. No, my bone."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Joy for Today

Our sunflowers finally opened!

After writing my Out of the Ho-hums! post on August 6th, I picked up one of my favorite books: "Lightposts for Living" by Thomas Kinkade. In Chapter One titled "The Color of Joy: The Art of Choosing a Joyful Life" he writes about choosing joy. The book focuses on a simple life.

I've strived to make my life as simple as I can. I find it fits me best and I'm much happier than filling my life with doing, going and things. I ran across this quote in the chapter that always makes me smile:

"And now you have joy?" "I do indeed." "And how did you get it?" "I chose it, admitted it into my life, then I celebrated its arrival in my heart. I made my celebration so loud and boisterous, I prohibited all gloom from attending the celebration."  Calvin Miller

                                 What a great snap my friend, Kathy, took of this fawn.

Of course, our joy comes from God, the giver of all things. "The people went . . . to celebrate with great joy because they had heard God's words and understood them."  Nehemiah 8:12

Charles Spurgeon wrote these words regarding Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord:" "This verse must seem very strange to those who know nothing of living a godly life, but to sincere believers it is simply the reinforcement of a recognized truth. It describes the life of a believer as one of 'delight' in God, and as believers we are proof of the great fact that true faith overflows with happiness and joy."

Thomas Kinkade suggests you can make joyful choices as you go through life.

"How do you make joyful choices? On the simplest level, you condition yourself for joy by doing little things you love on a regular basis . . . Anything that builds a simple sense of pleasure or optimism can be effective in building up the base coat of happiness deep in your heart," said Thomas Kinkade.

So I started thinking about things I do that are joyful to me. Of course, being in God's Word each day tops the list. Since joy comes from God, only He can open the door of your soul to find joy.

                                                                       Run little one!

"Joy is the great note all through the Bible."  Oswald Chambers

Photography helps me be joyful. The beauty of nature, the fun of seeing His creation, the assurance He's in control as new calves are born and the poppies open on schedule--I see this assurance and want to share it. Finding that unexpected scene and getting a snap of it is fun and satisfying! And creating matted prints and note cards to show off God's creation is another thing that brings me joy.

                         Abby and Jo patiently waiting by my chair while I work on the computer.

Baking treats to give away is a simple thing I do that brings me joy. My Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake is well known, and I love to give it away! A simple joy that makes my heart smile.

"If we are involved in doing what we were put on earth to do, a joyful heart is almost guaranteed--even in the midst of deepest difficulties."  Thomas Kinkade

How true. Even when I'm discouraged or disappointed or sad, God still gives me words to write to encourage the hearts of others. And using the gift God gave me to encourage hearts on those note cards is a deep felt joy of service.

When Jerry cut down one of our larger shrubs, he left a big trunk standing. He asked me what I thought about putting the log bird house on the top. I added the lattice fence to the mix, and I do believe we have the entrance to a new garden! (I haven't told him yet.)

Making dates with friends for breakfast, lunch or dinner brings me joy. My friends cheer my heart and help me through daily living. Being with them and sharing about life is a simple pleasure I don't take lightly.

                                   I visited my friend, Diana's, garden and enjoyed the beauty!

What brings you joy? Do you receive joy doing the things God has gifted you to do? Are you an artist who finds joy in drawing? Do you write in a journal and find joy sharing your thoughts with God? Do you instruct others in living for Christ? Are you a listener who finds joy in encouraging others?

Find those simple things that bring joy to your heart and don't forget to do them. You could change a life for Christ!

I know that Thomas Kinkade met with a tragic death and made poor choices, but like David, I believe he had a heart for God. I only hope he made peace with Him before the end.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Celebrating 91 and more . . .

Chesapeake Beach? Yes, that's where my mother wanted to go for her 91st birthday celebration. Memories abound.

Mom has been going to Chesapeake Beach since she was a young girl. My grandfather's employer would have a picnic there every summer for his employees and their families. There was a merry-go-round, slot machines and fun.

When I was two, we lived on the Navy base there. My father worked at the Naval Research Laboratory. Mom would take my sister and I to the beach every weekday morning. I don't remember much, but I think that's where I ate soap in the bathtub.

In later years, Mom, her mother and her sisters would go to the beach every Mother's Day. It was an important celebration for them. It's been many years since Mom has been there.

Chesapeake Beach has certainly changed in 60 years. Mom hoped to see where we lived those many years ago, but the base housing was no longer there.

Lovely color was found, and we could see an osprey feeding it's young, but it was way too far away for a good snap. We had a beautiful day and delightful temperatures. Mom was thrilled.

                                                              and more . . .

We recently watched the new movie, "God's Not Dead." It may seem like it in this country, but read me loud and clear: God is NOT dead. He's very much alive, and has been for all eternity past and eternity to come!

The movie is powerful. We've seen Kevin Sorbo in several movies, and enjoy his acting. The young man who played the main student was good too. I believe the story to be accurate as how our country and world is today.

You have a choice to make. That's the point. You either believe and live for God or you don't. The choice isn't to be taken lightly. Your soul depends on your decision.

I always remember a story I read a long time ago. "Two men were talking about life and belief in Christ. One man believed and the other man didn't. The man who didn't believe asked: 'What if you're not right. There is no God. No hell. No heaven.' The second man said: 'If I'm not right, I've lived a good life, one of truth and abundant life, filled with faith.' Then he said: 'What if I'm right. There is a God. Jesus is the Savior of the world and you must accept him for eternal life. If you don't, your soul will be without God for all eternity.' The first man had no reply."

Don't take this decision lightly. It's the most important decision you'll ever make.

Thank you, brothers and sisters who've chosen Christ, who stand firm for Him and don't back down because it would be easier. You encourage my heart. God is alive!

We took care of our neighbor's chickens last week, and when we'd walk back to our yard we'd always receive a happy greeting by Abby and Jo!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Out of the Ho-hums!

                                      Not bad for the camera set on automatic! It makes me smile!

I didn't lie. Sunday morning when friends asked me how I was I told them. "I'm ho-hum." And I was. Nothing really wrong. Just ho-hum.

As I started writing this post I looked up the word ho-hum in my little Random House dictionary. Yes. I still turn to my hand held version, not the internet. After all, it is the "Classic Edition." Copyright 1983. It wasn't there.

I then picked up my thesaurus by Roget. "International." I found it. Ho-hum: dull, dry, insipid, pointless, draggy, dismal--you get the picture. Ugh.

I guess all of us are ho-hum once in awhile. Even having my chocolate milkshake (sorry, Roy) didn't seem to help. So when Jerry asked me what I wanted to watch late Sunday afternoon, I surprised myself and picked the music DVD of the Gaither Vocal Band Reunion, Volume 1. We'd only watched it one other time, but I remembered experiencing great emotion, and boy, I sure needed something!

And a trip down memory lane began . . .

Members of the vocal band over the past 25 years gathered to reminisce, sing songs, praise and worship God, and thank Him for who He is. I remember seeing the Gaither Trio in DC in the early 80s. Bill and Gloria, along with Gary McSpadden formed the group, and Steve Green was one of the backup singers.

One of my favorite singers back then was Steve Green. He sang one of my favorites on this DVD: No Other Name But Jesus. I also love to hear him sing: "For God and God Alone." Seeing him on this DVD also brought back memories of his acappella performance of "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" at the Billy Graham crusade. My boss, who attended that event, came in the next morning raving about the performance.   

      "God and God Alone" on you tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08CeqyaffKM

Men who sang with the Imperials were present and my thoughts turned to Jim Murray singing "Sail On" and Russ Taff singing "The Trumpet of Jesus". (I'm not a favorite of Russ Taff's singing, but he did a great job on the trumpet song!) Some of my favorites the Imperials sang are: "Bread Upon the Water" "Here on the Rock" Praise the Lord" and "One More Song for You."

         "The Trumpet of Jesus," on you tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrhMud6Plk4

"A Few Good Men" is another favorite the Gaither's wrote and it reminded me of the Homecoming in New York City. Lines like: "He Calls the one who has the strength to stand up for the truth: and A man who'll raise the shield of Faith, protecting what is pure." And who could forget David Phelps performance with the guys singing "Let Freedom Ring." Stirring!

               I had to stop and snap this beautiful hibiscus bush the other day. It's gorgeous!

I smiled as I listened to Jon Mohr sing "Rumormill." And, yes, I can, thankfully, say, "He Touched Me." and made me whole!

But when Mark Lowry sang "Home Where I Belong," by B. J. Thomas, the deep yearning in my soul was expressed. "And when I'm feeling lonely, and when I'm feeling blue, It's such a joy to know that I am only passing through." I'd look forward to being home where there will be no more ho-hum days!

It was early evening when the DVD ended, and we went over to round up the chickens next door. We're taking care of them this week while our neighbor is away. I love it that they're walking around the yard! They seem to enjoy the corn we put out for deer.

The rain began soon after that, and I can honestly say as I retired for the night, "I'm Blessed." The ho-hums had left.

Ah, music did it again. Encouraged my heart and refreshed my soul. A wonderful trip down memory lane.
                                             Abby and Jo are 8 months old this week!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I Lost a Friend

I've lost a friend. Janet. Cancer. She was a courageous fighter.

Janet was fighting cancer three years before I knew her. She was mentioned in a Sunday School class I attended. I started doing what I do best. I wrote her a note. That was in May of 2010. I've been writing her notes ever since.

It was a number of months before we met. We scheduled a date at the Starbucks in Mt. Airy. I sat there for two hours listening to her share about her life and the opportunities God had given her to witness for Him. I was spellbound.

I continued writing notes and sending emails, listening to her heart as she continued to battle for her life. One of the things we did together was make "Hope" pouches. I had been making "Hope" pillows for a few years to give away, but not pouches.

My friend, Gail, sewed up the pouches for me from the pretty "Hope" material from Longaberger, and Janet made a list of what to put inside. She knew exactly what someone would need when they first began to take chemo. Then the pouches were delivered to the cancer center where she receives chemo to give to people undergoing treatment for the first time.

Janet joined me for a retirement breakfast with other women in my church. I didn't know if she'd be able to attend and was pleasantly surprised when she arrived. She's the first one on the right.

I also met with Janet, and our friend, Shari, (second on the left) a few times for breakfast. Those will be special memories for me. And the Saturday we had an open house at my Mom's home in Rockville, Janet and her husband, Eric, came down to find some treasures.

Our relationship has mostly been through cards, emails and texting. The last few years she was under extreme pain and agony.

The other week she was able to join her team, the Thursday Teal Troopers, for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition Walk in Frederick. Although she couldn't participate, God made it possible for her to attend a few minutes to cheer on her team. In her email message to her friends last February, she said: "My team, the Thursday Teal Troopers (all of us patients currently in treatment) are on a mission to raise awareness and promote education about ovarian cancer in our community." They raised $68,000.

It was very difficult seeing her before she died. She was asleep, heavily drugged. But I took her hand and thanked her for being my friend. I told her I'd see her in Glory.

I've lost very few loved ones and friends in my life. I've considered that a number of times over recent years, and thank God. But I know more friends and loved ones will be passing on as my year's continue to add up. This ain't going to be easy.

Janet was a friend. I only knew her a short time. I'm sorry to lose her. She was saved and is meeting Jesus before me. There isn't any pain in her body anymore. She still shines as a blessing in my life!

Jo loves her toys. She carries them around, bringing them to us to show off. Jerry caught her asleep on the couch with her paws around her rope.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I Volunteered

Somebody has to do it. Why not me? It's National Ice Cream month! Ronald Regean made it official in  1984, and what better month than July during the hot, humid weather. And the third Sunday of July is National Ice Cream Day.

So I took it upon myself to make milk shakes. Not any milk shake. The one I grew up on. Every once in a while my Dad would surprise us and make milk shakes. It was a special treat. And it still it today!

So I gathered the ingredients and my favorite glass and began. First, the right ice cream.

Then the right syrup. (Hershey's, of course.)

A little bit of milk.

A whole lot of ice cream. (No, I didn't eat the whole container. Almost.)

A little mixing . . . some more ice cream and syrup.

And fill it to the brim chocolate milk shake!

It's a favorite treat, and I've been enjoying them this month in celebration.

The only negative aspect of this treat is what it does to my waist and hips. But, that's such a small thing compared to a delicious and fulfilling milkshake.

There aren't very many good memories I have about my father, but he did make a mean milk shake that I always loved! There's still time. It's only July 23rd!

Nope, the Minister of Chocolate hasn't retired!