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
( 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.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

He is Always Close

                  These two doves were pretty puffed up as they sat on the branch passing the day.

"To increase your happiness . . . randomly wish for somebody else to be happy." Chade-meng Tan

I received a letter from a woman I worked with back in the 80s. We had lost touch a few years when she moved to Delaware. I sent her a birthday card and asked her to write. I was thrilled when the thick envelope arrived with her handwriting.

                 Passed a nice red barn in my drive around on snowy lanes the other morning.

I met her when I moved to another department at Bell Atlantic back in the 80s. I soon discovered we shared the love of Jesus and as friendship began, we spent many years of enjoying each other.

Her difficulties have been many during the last few years and my heart was sad that I wasn't in touch to bring a smile to her face.

Then I remembered the scripture that assured my mind God had not lost touch. "The Lord is close to the broken hearted; he rescues those whose spirit is crushed." Psalm 34:18

                                  I could drive around on snow covered lanes all day!

Our broken heart leads us to the abundant life, as we seek him to wipe away our tears. We discover infinite depths of His love as we let Him heal our sorrows.

                               A beaver (or two) did their professional work on this tree.

"I want to scale the utmost height And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I'll pray till heav'n I've found, Lord, lead me on to higher ground."

That wonderful song Higher Ground, written by Johnson Oatman, Jr. (1856-1922), certainly pulls your attention to living for Christ. Above is the 4th verse.

          I spotted this skunk along the roadside. When I passed by the scent was light. Thankfully!

So our God is always close by and always ready to help. But He does use our hands. Valentine's Day is next week. Can your hands be used to bring a smile to another's heart?

"To make a valentine God took two shafts of work
And on that wood in love and anguish placed his Son,
Who gave his heart that mine might
Be made new."     Eleanor Whitesides

I've written a nice, long letter to send to my friend. And I sent it in a Valentine to cheer her heart!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Writing I Shall Go

Welcome to my "writing room." It's about 90% organized and ready. Smile with me as I give you a tour and show you some of the things in it that make me smile.
My friend, Susan, and I were talking to our friend, Molly, suggesting she create a place in her home to be her little corner of the world. A special place where she can go and find rest, peace, solitude and inspiration. Where she can pray, meditate, hope and control her thoughts and actions to help her be a Godly woman.

                 I love my new chair and ottoman, a delight I didn't have room for in Maryland.

Whether it's a chair in a corner, a small closet, a window seat or a small room, I believe you'll greatly enrich your life to hide away by yourself and fill your heart and mind in your own little corner of the world.

I'm hoping Molly took our suggestion and now has a special place of her own.

                   I have my note writing posters on the wall to remind me of my service to God.

I was fortunate to have the smallest bedroom in our home in Maryland for my writing room. And with this move, I have another room, a tad bigger, where I can go to be encouraged, write, read and create.

The baskets hold my note writing cards and matted prints. I'm surrounded by those things I enjoy doing.
This ten dollars was the first sale of my note writing book!

  At my desk I have my collection of Eeyore, my favorite storybook character. He and I are kindred spirits. He always makes me smile.

On the side of the bookcase where I sit at the computer is Eeyore, of course, pictures of my desk as a girl with my teddy bear and doll friends, Abby and Jo when we first got them at 12 weeks, a cartoon that says: "My therapy is quite simple; I wag my tail and lick your face until you feel good about yourself again.", two friends eating chocolate that says: "The only thing better than a good friend is a good friend with a box of chocolates.", and a picture of me with my first note writing poster holding my book.

Mom painted the doll and put hair on her; next to her is an angel of Hope, my friend, Karla's "Give Thanks" art and, of course, a fawn (not mine).

The little train I had as a young girl, and my charm bracelet of life.

Faith, Hope & Love is on the little pillow, and the cream throw was a gift from my Sunday School class and has a cross and personalized with Proverbs 11:25. That's my special scripture verse for my note writing ministry.

My friend, Kathy's, snap of a chair in her garden sitting with the hydrangea; a figurine my childhood friend, Linda, gave me when we moved, and a girl friend cupcake, and, yes, that's the birds around the mailbox I posted last week on the side of the book case right where I can see it in my new chair.

I hope you enjoyed my little tour! Now I need to meet and make friends in this new land I've been brought to. For my true happiness comes from fulfilling my gift of note writing to encourage others with the amazing and awesome love and joy that only comes through faith in Christ.

And I'm excited to say we may have found our church home. We visited a number of churches in the area and the last one seems to be the right fit!

" Sweet are the thoughts that savour of content; The quiet mind is richer than a crown." Robert Greene (1558-1592)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Good Night Song

I finally got out to explore the land around me last Saturday morning. There was also a little snow Tuesday morning, and I found these snaps.

We've visited four churches so far trying to find one that fits us best, and during the service at two of the churches the doxology was sung. I hadn't sung that in years.

Doxology: a set form of words praising God; a usually liturgical expression of praise to God

Then, in a recent song I read during my devotions, the last verse was the doxology. I thought that was strange, so it took me to the computer to see what I could find.

And, indeed, the doxology was part of a song before it came into widespread use alone. The song that the doxology came from is titled: "Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun." It was written by Thomas Ken, 1637-1711. He also wrote "All Praise to You, My God, This Night" which is the song I read in my hymnal, where he also included those words as the last verse.

                                   Thought this group of trees made an impressive presence.

Ken wrote these songs at a time when the established church believed only Scripture should be sung as hymns, with an emphasis on the Psalms. Some considered it sinful and blasphemous to write new lyrics for church music, akin to adding to the Scriptures. In that atmosphere, Ken wrote this and several other hymns for the boys at Winchester College, with strict instructions that they use them only in their rooms for private devotions.

I find the words to "All Praise to You, My God, This Night" very meaningful, and would certainly be a good song to pray before one sleeps. Here are the words:

"For all the blessings of the light, Keep me, O keep me, King of kings, Beneath the shelter of Your wings.
"Forgive me, Lord, for this I pray, The wrong that I have done this day, May peace with God and neighbor be, Before I sleep, restored to me.
"Lord, may I be at rest in You And sweetly sleep the whole night thro', Refresh my strength, for Your own sake, So I may serve You when I wake.
"Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heav'nly host; Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost."

Hymns continue to be what refreshes my soul the most. Yes, there are some very good songs out there that I love, but hymns say so much more than words.

                                                              Love this snap in the fog.

The next time I sing the doxology I will remember this little exercise and be refreshed. Music stirs the soul, a blessing we can thank our God for creating!

"The Christian ought to be a living doxology." Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Jerry and Mom were with me Tuesday morning driving around and Jerry liked this face in the roots of a tree.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Do You Need a "Note" Friend?

This art from Kerry Boone has always been a favorite of mine. It's how I feel about sending notes, and receiving notes in my mail box. It's a joy to open the mail box and find a note inside! I got this from a Lang calendar that I bought, and I think Lang also put it on one of their note cards.

It hasn't been my practice to choose a word or verse as mine for a year, but something Paul said in the first chapter of Romans caught my eye and held new meaning for me.

"I long to see you . . . so that you and I can be mutually encouraged by each other's faith."

I recently started reading Romans during my devotion time, and Paul's words stopped me fast!

"I often think that there is nothing so bad as parting with one's friends. One seems so forlorn without them." Jane Austen

Isn't that just how I feel? I left most of my friend's (all actually) back in Maryland, and how I long to see them again. To enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner while we're sitting together chatting about this and that, sharing our lives.

Some of my friends touch base via email once a week, and I love my daily exchanges with my sister, and a very dear friend. A few friends call. A few write notes. And all during those contacts we are encouraging each us, inspiring each other, soothing wounds for each other. I don't want to lose that.

In my new writing room I decided to put up two posters I used when I was speaking about note writing. I wanted to be reminded daily of the service God gave me to encourage others, and remember the joy I have in doing it.

Notes change lives. I have heard and read countless experiences where a note had an everlasting impact for the recipient. That's what happened to me.

Some of my note writing friends have corresponded for years. What a sacred trust and care I have for these ladies. And I'm hoping a few more of my friends will pick up the pen and discover the joy of writing a note and receiving one.

History tells of many relationships that were carried on through the writing of notes and letters. Many famous people were fervent letter writers: Ernest Hemingway, Stonewall Jackson, Ronald Reagan, Eleanor Roosevelt, E. B. White, John Keats, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

I've purchased books by these women that help you write notes: Florence Isaacs, Angela Ensminger and Daria Price Bowman. And, I also have my own book that I wrote to help you get started. Although out-of-print, I still have copies if you want to be a serious note writer for God, or know someone who is interested in note writing.

I know writing notes is not every ones forte, but there are some of you who enjoy writing and receiving notes. I'm wondering if there is someone who wants to be a "note" friend? Writing notes through the year to stay in touch while we share kindred hearts.

If you would like to be a "note" friend, please email me at giving me your name, address and a few words to make a connection. Or, there may be someone you know that you should be a note writing friend too.

I'm so glad I read that verse in Romans! I share Paul's love in keeping in touch with those who are far away. Encouragement feeds the heart and opens inspiring thoughts and dreams inside. Do you want to be a "Note" friend?

"Fill my notes with the breathings of my heart . . . and 'to begin, begin.'" Williams Wordsworth, Poet Laureate