After a few years in the tent, we purchased a used pop-up camper. What luxury! It was so nice to be able to store things in the camper so that whenever we got ready to go on a trip, the essentials were already on board. It was also nice to stay really dry when the heavens opened up and rain poured down on us. No matter how careful we were in the tent, it always felt a bit like it was raining right through the canvas.
One of the things we liked to do was just stroll around the campgrounds and look at the other camp sites. It was interesting to see the way people "decorated". Nearly everyone had tablecloths for the picnic tables, comfortable chairs and an awning. However, there were some who just went "all out".
One such family looked as though they were all set for a very long stay. They had hanging plants, wind chimes, all sorts of pinwheels and pretty painted wooden decorations. The campsite itself looked like a little landscaped yard. They even had a little fence to decorate the edge. All in all it was quite charming. It looked like a warm, inviting place.
However, as you got closer there were little signs planted by the fence that changed the whole demeanor of the place. Ah....not quite so welcoming after all. It was rather disappointing . As we continued our walk past their campsite we passed one more little sign with the name of the family on it. "The Kinds" read the pretty little sign. We just laughed and laughed.
It has made me think a little bit about my life. I don't want to "put on a false front" - one that makes a great pretence of being loving and caring and yet puts up a "no trespassing" sign when there is someone who approaches me with a real need. I want to be all that Jesus would have me be.
Outside my Window.....blue skies, bright sunlight and a breeze moving the branches of the big oak trees.
I am thankful for....safe travels for my daughter as she flew home from France. After three long months it is so good to have her home.
From the kitchen...a few jars of pickled eggplant to make our sandwiches taste delicious!
I am wearing...a green short-sleeved shirt, blue shorts and my white socks that pass for slippers these days.
I am reading..."Sarah's Quilt" by Nancy Turner
I am hoping...the businessmen who said they were interested in our house will decide to buy it!
I am creating... tiny baby blankets for the little babies in our local hospital.
I am hearing...the hum and whirr of the washing machine and dryer. I am really thankful for the work they do for me.
Around the house...it is time to do something with my sadly neglected flower garden. The lack of rain and unrelenting heat of the summer months have taken a toll on it. And I have been too lazy up until now to get out there and do something about it.
One of my favorite things...is sitting on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...piano lessons tomorrow afternoon, Bible Study wednesday morning, volunteer work at church wednesday afternoon, choir practice wednesday evening, a weekend trip to visit the kids and grands in Dallas!
Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
This is our resident Roadrunner. I am constantly amazed at the creativity of the Father. This little guy is such fun to watch. I even caught him perched on the edge of the birdbath the other day - getting a deep drink of water.
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I have come to understand that there is a purpose in waiting - that it is part of the process God is using to mold and shape my life into the image He has in mind. The Father has explained that to me in one way or another over and over again. In fact, the speaker at Bible Study yesterday spoke about it. She was talking about deliverance. She said that sometimes the Lord brings about visible, immediate, miraculous deliverance, and sometimes it is an invisible deliverance - a time when the Father is doing a work in our hearts. It is a process that begins with complete surrender to His agenda - trusting as we wait to see what He will do.
I often picture myself a bit like Winnie the Pooh sitting on a log muttering "Think, think, think..." when I am trying to work something through in my mind. I learn best when I can find a practical illustration in my mind for what I'm trying to work through. As I was preparing supper last evening, I suddenly got a very practical picture of waiting.
When I am in a hurry to complete something, I tend to look for short-cuts. For instance, if I'm painting something and it requires two or more coats of paint, and I'm in a rush to get it done, I don't wait for the first coat to completely dry before I apply the next one. The result is a mess. Or if I've baked a cake and am in a hurry to put the icing on - if I don't wait until the cake is thoroughly cooled I get icing filled with cake crumbs.
The same is true with children. Their growth is a process. There are steps that cannot be skipped over. A baby can't run - there is a lot of growth that must take place before that can happen. As much as he would love to be able to run and play on his own he simply isn't ready yet. A ten year old can't get a driver's license - even though it is her fondest wish to drive a little red sports car.
That is what this waiting is all about. It isn't a time where I am stuck in a place for a long time getting nowhere; rather it is a time when God is doing things in my life to prepare me for whatever He has planned in answer to my prayer. He is waiting for the optimum time to ice the cake, apply the second coat of paint or let me take the wheel.
I'm sure that most of you have seen all of this clearly a long time ago. I am, like Pooh, a rather slow learner. I have intellectually understood this business of waiting, but suddenly it is just a little clearer. It makes the waiting a bit easier.
Meet Mr. and Mrs. Dove. They are regular visitors to our bird bath. They always come together and always follow the same little routine.
First they take dainty little sips of water. Having satisfied their thirst, they then gently step into the water and bathe. Nothing splashy mind you - just a relaxing soak. When they are finished, they don't fly away like all the other birds. They gracefully float down into the grass, walk around finding just the right spot and settle down to dry off in the sunshine.
There they sit, side by side, soaking in the sun and enjoying each others company.
I understand why they are symbolic of peace. They are so quiet (unlike the blue birds who screech loud enough to wake the dead) and so gentle (unlike previously mention blue birds who chase all the other birds away when they want a drink).
They are not, however, foolish. Just the tiniest noise or movement, and they take flight. The verse in Matthew 10:16 is quite fitting:
"...therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves."
I love watching them and thought you'd like to meet them.
This afternoon, I peeled an eggplant, cut it in thin slices, put the slices in boiling white vinegar, added some oil and spices and made these:
It is a recipe from my Mom. You'll have to trust me on this one - a ham sandwhich is so much yummier with pickled eggplant piled on top of the ham. Beats mustard any day.
I am here today at Laced With Grace. Please come and visit, and we'll talk about fish, turtles and taking the bait.
"The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world."
Psalm 19: 1-4
This song has been on my heart for days now. I sit and listen and the tears slide down my cheeks. "Lord there is none like You. NOTHING compares to the promise I have in You." It puts all the circumstances of life into perspective.
The events of the past week could make us very fearful if we had no one or nothing in which to put our trust. We have seen how powerless we are in the face of storms that can destroy everything we own. We have watched as "captains of industry" desperately worked to stabilize the country's economy.
We have watched, all the while knowing we have a Father who is in control of all things. A Father who, no matter what the circumstances, is faithful, merciful and full of grace; whose promises will never fail.
"Thou has made and upholdest all things by the word of Thy power;
darkness is Thy pavilion,
Thou walkest on the wings of the wind;
all nations are nothing before Thee;
one generation succeeds another
and we hasten back to the dust;
the heavens we behold will vanish away like the clouds that cover them,
the earth we tread on will dissolve as a morning dream;
But Thou, unchangeable and incorruptible, art forever and ever,
God over all, blessed eternally."
taken from "The Valley of Vision"
I am back . I have taken so much time - gone around and around in circles about what to do with my blogging. Then the Lord just gently told me to put it in its proper place. It came so clearly through a talk at church. I couldn't possibly have mistaken it - which is what I seem to need (to be hit squarely between the eyes!). Could it be coincidence that the speaker would actually mention blogging when going down the list of things that keep us from spending time as God would have us spend it? I didn't think so. So...I am back - gently, carefully back. Redeeming the time.
These are some of the priceless gifts the Father so graciously gives as I ride my bike:
My riding partner getting the bikes loaded up.
Our little Post Office.
The beginning of the ride - and my usual view of my husband :-). He very kindly doubles back occassionally so that he doesn't get too far ahead.
Beautiful horses peacefully gracing as we make the turn to the next little country road.
My favorite little driveway. I don't know where it leads, but it is so enchanting.
One of the many ranches we pass.
A little road that leads to an old cemetary.
Sweet cows totally unfazed at having their picture taken.
The ranch where there is a rodeo every saturday night.
A horse ranch (excuse my finger in the picture, sigh....) with magnificent horses.
My "girl friends". I give them a shout out every time I ride by. As you can see, they aren't impressed.
Thank You Father for the abundant blessings You pour into my life.
I've decided to stop numbering the gifts. I don't think the Father is keeping count; His blessings are numberless.
I must confess - they are a tad big. Well....actually they are very big! I guess I over-estimated the size of my foot. Next time I'll make the smaller size.
They were fun to knit. I love the way the yarn makes the stripes, and I've gotten so I really do like the colors (my husband picked out the yarn). If my family doesn't laugh too hard, I may make some for everyone.
Praying all is well with everyone. We are so very thankful that Ike took a turn and completely missed us - not even a drop of rain. However, we are deeply saddened by the devastation to others not so fortunate. It was a horrific storm. It will be a very long recovery time.
I will see you soon.
I will still write for Laced With Grace and perhaps post occassionally. I will also try to keep up with what everyone else is doing. That's the part that makes the "deciding" so difficult. I feel so invested in the friendships I have here.
Perhaps it is just a little bit of - I'm not sure what - tiredness; angst? Please know I will keep y'all in my prayers, and you can feel free to email me at any time.
I love you -
I confess that I have not had an attitude of gratitude in recent days. As is always the case, it is because I have been far too focused on self. Does it work that way with you? Whenever I become self-absorbed I begin to feel discontented, envious, discouraged.....and the last thing I feel like doing is giving thanks. The truth, of course, is that the only way to real peace, joy and contentment is through praise.
So I humbly ask for forgiveness and begin to give thanks for the many blessings that go unnoticed when I am too busy looking at myself but are so precious:
175 - Time spent with our adult children and precious grandchildren. It is such a joy to be with them. During the time we were helping our older son and his family move we were sitting around the supper table and sharing stories. The grands love for Papa to talk about his adventures growing up with four wild and crazy brothers. My husband started to tell a story about the time he was in the army. He began, "When I was in the service...." - and our six year old wide-eyed
grandson yelped "You were in the circus?" I thought the other kids would bust a gut
laughing. Oh how I treasure those moments.
176 - New homes for both of our sons and daughters-in-law. God provided above and beyond anything we had imagined.
177 - Answered prayer about Hurricane Gustav. It could have been so much worse.
178 - Resuming choir for the new season. The practice times are unbelievable. It is church!
179 - Beginning a new Bible Study. I have been "living" in the Psalms for the past couple of years, and that is what our leader chose for our new study. It is called "A Woman of Worship". I am excited.
180 - Reuniting with my small group in Bible Study. They are such special ladies, and it was so good to see them again. I am thankful the Lord has placed them in my life. There are a couple of new faces, and I am looking forward to getting to know them better. This little group has become a "safe" place for all of us to share the deepest needs of our hearts and know that they will be kept in confidence, that we will be prayed for and that we are loved.
181 - Looking out the window in the morning and seeing a beautiful rainbow in the sky. And we didn't even have any rain!
182 - My husband's wonderful sense of humor.
183 - A slight hint of "coolness" in the air this morning. I know we have another couple of months of hot weather, but it is the promise of cooler weather to come.
184 - The two doves who come regularly to the bird bath. I understand, as I watch them, why they have come to symbolize peace. They are so quiet and gentle - never hurried or testy as so many of the other birds are. They keep each other company as they take small sips of water, bathe a bit and then sun themselves in the grass. They are so sweet.
185 - Knitting - it makes me feel so relaxed and peaceful.
186 - Telephone calls from our daughter in France. They are so clear it feels like she is only a short distance away instead of thousands of miles. She will be home in less than three weeks!
187 - Listening to a beautiful lady play the piano like an angel. I want to play just a little bit like that some day.
188 - The beautiful "perfume" in the air as I ride my bike past a patch of wild flowers.
189 - Celebrating my Mom's 85th birthday. We are so blessed.
As I thought about that, I got a mental picture of God as the knitter and myself the knitting He is working on. He already knows what the “finished product” will look like. After all it was He who formed me in my mother’s womb. He knows exactly what He has to do in order to continue that work in my life and make me the “me” He created me to be.