Her Hands

Proverbs 31:  30-31

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

 

jtsmom.collage

 

While the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord

The hands of a good woman are certainly to be adored.

 

Young hands once embraced her lover’s strong hands

as they joined in holy matrimony,

They embarked on an adventure

That built a lasting legacy and testimony.

 

Tender hands to hold the precious babies

Firm hands to administer discipline to the naughty

Loving hands to console the scraps and bruises

While always skilled hands, though never haughty.

 

Eager hands seeking God’s design for her life

Led to a life of devotion to her Savior,

The Holy Bible became her nourishment

And she desired more and more to gain His favor.

 

Strong hands contributed to the household funds

Working long hours in many different places

While sewing, serving or selecting fashion

She was a blessing to many special faces.

 

Vigorous hands displayed her devotion to her family

As unselfishly displayed in her desire to help whenever

Cleaning, folding, ironing or sewing clothes

Those diligent hands displayed a love to last forever.

 

Adventurous hands loved to play with the kids

Who says a grandmother can’t ride a trike?

She broke her wrist while roller skating

So it was much less dangerous to ride a bike!

 

Skillful hands designed many a quilt and afghan

All were grateful for the love contained in each stitch

And Praised the Lord for the loving hands

While we snuggled neath the softness without an itch.

 

Open hands always offered a hug

She wanted to make sure that everyone heard

Of her love and God’s, praying and trusting that

All would surrender and follow His word.

 

Fragile hands no longer able to cook and clean

Still wrote those letters and many a birthday greeting

She couldn’t remember if she had sent that card

Sometimes they received more than one reading.

 

Weak hands depended on her family for strength

Too frail to breathe without the oxygen tube in her nose

Coughing increased and eating was a struggle

She moved around the house with that clear hose.

 

Determined hands instructed her son to resist delaying her

Ready to reunite with her parents in Beulah Land

She used her last breath trying to help her husband

And in the arms of her oldest son she surrendered her hand.

 

Thank you Mom, Grandmother, MeeMaw for using those beautiful hands God gave you to bless each of us!

 

Another prompting to honor another mother.

This was written in 2009 for the birthday of my husband’s mother.  She enjoyed reading my one and only attempt at poetry!!    Again I was able to express in writing what I had difficulty telling her in person.

The last two paragraphs were added after she died in 2010.

 

Walk in the Way of Love

 

“What was your favorite Easter basket or Easter candy?”

Really?  A Christian radio station talking about Easter candy.  Is that what Easter is about?

My husband did have a memory of Easter candy.  His mom required him to take his younger brother and sister to  a community egg hunt.  He was walking around looking cool and stopping occasionally to eat a candy egg.  He picked up a plastic egg and opened it – he read $1.00 and put the prize in his pocket.  Several hard candy eggs later – he heard over the loud speaker, “The prize egg has not been found.  Look around for the $100 prize egg.”

He looked again in his pocket– and he had misread the note.  He went to the announcer and returned the contents of the plastic egg for a $100 check.   When asked what he planned to do with the money – he responded, “I will give it to my mom to pay for my summer school bill.”

Easy come, easy go!

I watched The Passion of the Christ recently for the second time.  Incredible the suffering Jesus experienced for us.  I remember a retreat and the speaker giving a physical description of Jesus’s crucifixion – this did not include the beatings and scourgings from Roman soldiers and the rejection of his own countrymen before being nailed on a cross.

I don’t remember ever receiving a basket.  Maybe when I was very young??

My best memories of Easter are attending church with my Dad.  Christmas and Easter were the few days we attended church as a family.

Unlike the casual attire today, people dressed up for church in those days. Dad could wear his dress Army military uniform. Mother used her limited funds to make sure her children wore nice Sunday clothes, especially at Christmas and Easter, which left no money for an appropriate outfit for her.

It was kind of ironic my Dad always looked so proud and got so many compliments for his uniform and bringing his children to church.  While my mother was the one who sacrificed and covered for him and his drinking problem which caused her to squeeze every penny out of his paycheck to pay bills.

One of my best memories of Easter was the weekend my husband and I were married.

Other family Easter memories:

My brother & his children attended with us one year.

Mike,cindi,michael (2)

Easter.1972

 

 

 

1974.teen ranch

Our Teen Ranch Familyr

 

The cute blue suit is what Timmy wore when he quickly said his part on stage, popped his bow  tie and jumped off the stairs.

 

 

 

In the early years of our marriage the tradition continued of having new clothes at Easter.   I made a yellow dress for the special day.  I found a pair of yellow pumps to match and squeezed the luxury out of my paycheck.

IMG_2371

Can you believe lady I sat by in church this Easter had on a yellow dress and yellow shoes?

It seemed the Lord was saying to me, “You could return them and give the $20 to missions.”  I leaned over to John and said, “we can give $20.”

A few weeks before Easter, we attended a missionary banquet and the speaker, Rev. Jimmy Lentz, a powerful advocate for missionaries, made an appeal.  He realized there was only a small group of people and we were most likely giving to our church.  He asked if we would give sacrificially. My yellow shoes popped up before my mind.  I didn’t really need them I just wanted them to wear with my new dress.

Now that doesn’t seem like a lot of money – but to us in the 1960’s it was a – a car payment or electric bill???? This began our love of missions and desire to give.

New clothes are not a priority for Easter to me now.  I do cherish family attending services with us and cooking for them to enjoy.

easter.2014

Little Timmy full grown with his family.

IMG_2374

Our son Johnny and his children and their friends.  We are still surrounded by young people.

 

Now Easter is a wonderful celebration of our faith as the highlight of the year when we commemorate our Lord’s resurrection.  As our pastor said this year, “Without Easter we would not celebrate Christmas!”

Why would we? The purpose of the coming of the babe in the manager was for God to be with us in human form so that he could show us the Father and then die for our sins and leave the Holy Spirit to be our counselor, advocate and guide.

Thank you Lord for Easter memories in my life.  May I share with my children and grandchildren that Easter is more than baskets, bunnies and egg hunts.

It’s all about the glorious resurrection of our Lord – King Jesus.

Behold our King!  Come let us adore Him!

 

Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV)

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walk

He can walk!

Yes, my husband John was able to walk the next morning after back surgery. He was in a wheelchair for 3 weeks prior to surgery.  The PT lady in the hospital was amazed how well he walked and the doctor released him that day.  Wow, back surgery and only one night in the hospital. Praise God!

Walk

 is my word to consider for 2018

 – –  how we take it for granted.

Continue reading

All the Time?

All the Time?

Pastor – “God is Good!” – response People – “All the Time!”

Pastor – “All the Time!” – response People – “God is Good!”

Our church service begins with this ritual.

Many times, I think – All the Time?

When a loved one dies?

When the diagnosis is cancer?

When your spouse leaves?

When your child rebels?

When your husband has been in pain for ten days?

You get the picture – many times we don’t feel like God is Good – all the time.

Nothing was working out.  No one returned my calls.  It did not seem that God was good this Monday.  No one seemed to care.  I shouldn’t say that- family and friends kept in touch with me constantly– they cared.  The prayer chain at church was active. The medical community was not responding.

I awoke with such optimism Monday morning – that someone would help – we would get an appointment that day for my husband.  John was not able to stand without excruciating pain or walk for ten days.  He had an MRI at the ER on Tuesday before Thanksgiving and was sent home with pain meds and prednisone.  He had a herniated disk. Now, he was out of both medicines and pain not improved.

As the hours dragged on and no calls I was anxious, ok, I was depressed.

Finally, at 4pm I received a call from our local doctor’s office. I rushed to town to get the prescription.  Then to the pharmacy to have it filled.  It was then my cell phone rang – a neurosurgeon’s office – could we be there at 8:50 the next day?  Yes, someone does care.

The next morning our son helped me get John in the car and loaded the wheelchair.  We left our house at 6:30 am for the one and half hour trip over the mountain to Gainesville.  It was a beautiful clear day the sun was shining and warm for late November.  I drove around to the front door to let John out.  Amazing, a handicapped parking place right in front.  I don’t like to pray for a parking space – but God reserved one for me that day.  After a few pulls and tugs I was able to get the wheelchair unloaded.

I rolled John in the office and before we got settled in for the wait (he was being worked in their schedule) he was called back to see the doctor.  The doctor came in and showed me the MRI and X-ray and said his disk was completely pinched and he needed surgery as soon as possible. Everyone in the office seemed concerned and the doctor was concerned about his pain level – he scheduled surgery the next week.

They called the hospital to try to schedule preop for that day.  No openings – Preop on Friday.  Oh, no go over the mountain again in few days?  John could not make that trip again.  But Yeah surgery scheduled!

I got him in the car and then tackled the wheelchair.  After several lifts a lady appeared and said, “Here, let me show you how to do that!”

We went to lunch.  John said, “Why don’t we go by the hospital and see if they can work us in for preop today.  Sure, enough someone else cared and after an hour nap in the waiting room they put him through preop procedure.

God was certainly good that Tuesday.  On the drive home, I recounted all the blessings – Praise the Lord for a safe trip, beautiful sunny day, parking place right in front of office, surgery scheduled, a lady to lift wheelchair and preop done.

But was God good on Monday when I was so despondent and distraught?  Sure, he was – he gave me the strength to keep pressing on.  Even though I didn’t feel like he was good, he was working all the time.

Seeing the goodness of God on Tuesday helped me get through the next week before John’s surgery as his pain increased even with strong medication.

Where are you today?  Do you feel that God is Good all the time?  My experience is miniscule compared to my friend who lost her husband or another friend facing cancer or someone whose spouse leaves.  But I know God can meet you even in those times.

There are many scriptures to encourage us that God is Good and that He works for our good.  Here are a few from New International Version (NIV):

Psalm 73:1                          Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.

2 Corinthians 9:8              And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Philippians 2:13                For it is God who works in you to will and act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Romans 8:28                      And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Psalm 121
A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

 

This song by Casting Crowns – speaks to our times of doubting that God is Good all the time!

 

https://youtu.be/vCpP0mFD9F0

 

 

Fake Strawberries

John 15:4-6 New International Version (NIV)

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

IMG_0988

TOMATOES

 

 

 

 

 

“Oh, you accomplished this did you?”

 

 

 

 

After working in the garden at 100% humidity– I stopped to rest and drink some water. Even though I was exhausted, I looked around and took pride in the garden.

My husband told me that he would not be able to help in the garden this year because of his back problems. Stubbornly I pursued the task of planting and weeding. We failed to place a layer of wood chips in the fall which would have kept the weeds under control.

 

IMG_0987

Squash – newspaper to block weeds???

 

Observing the thriving  plants, I thought, “Look at this, I planted all this by myself and it looks so good.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Immediately the Lord reminded me that all I did was plant and weed the garden – he caused the growth with the abundance of rain and sunshine. I felt like Job when the Lord challenged him for using words without knowledge in Job 38-41. Oops, sorry Lord.

He encouraged me to look at the strawberry patch that was overgrown with weeds.

before.right

Right side (before)

 

 

“That is what you can take credit for – a mess. Without me you can do nothing!”

 

 

 

 

Thankfully, after four days of pulling weeds the strawberry patches are cleared of those tall weeds.

after.right

Right side (after)

before.left

Left side (before)

after.left

Left side (after weeding)

 

Just like Job, I was challenged that God is the creator and sustainer of life. Success comes from acknowledging his majesty and authority over all I attempt. Whether it is gardening, volunteering, or any area of my life, the praise should go to God.

It is important to recognize the weeds as they creep into the strawberry patch.

fake.strawberries

tiny runners are weeds – fake strawberries

 

 

 

Just like these fake strawberry vines, we must be aware of the invaders.

 

 

 

 

 

Are we taking pride in ourselves and our accomplishments without acknowledging that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father and without Him we can do nothing.

 

Thank you Lord for giving me strength and stamina to pull those weeds!

 

Job 38  New International Version (NIV)

The Lord Speaks

38 Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:

“Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?

Which Season Are You In?

One of my hobbies is color analysis. I enjoy the process of helping someone discover what colors are best for them to wear.  Each person can be categorized in one of the seasons of the year – fall, winter, spring or summer.  It is amazing to see how one’s hair color, eye color, eye pattern, skin tone and color preference reveal the season.  Sometimes it is hard to determine their season without the draping process.  This is done by comparing several pieces of drapes in the four season’s palettes.

Some have compared our lives to the seasons of the year.  Spring for youth, summer as the prime of life, fall for maturity and then winter for the older stages.

My favorite way to feature the seasons is the flowers.

The first signs of spring are the bulbs pushing up through the barren ground– crocuses, daffodils, tulips.  Forsythia (or yellow bells) take over the landscape.  They swiftly fade away.

 

Warmer days cause the azaleas and rhododendrons to take the stage only to last a few weeks if we are lucky.

 

Summer begins with my favorite- the glory of the day lilies. If there is enough rain – hydrangea upstage all.  Wish they could last all summer.

 

Summer’s heat ushers in the crepe myrtles and black-eyed susans.

Cooler days are welcomed as the trees take on the show with the rich, brilliant colors of fallview.johnny.house

It seems only a few more weeks and the flowers shrivel and waste away as the leaves drop from the trees and give way to winter’s barren cold.

 

 

Blooms of the Christmas cactus brighten winter indoors.thanksgiving-cactus.jpg

Chronologically I am in the winter of my life.  Although I can view the flowers in my gardens and I feel like a spring chicken.

We often think of someone as we knew them 20 or 30 years ago.  It is fun to look on Facebook and see friends from “way back when” and see how they have changed.  Not me???? But suddenly I look in the mirror and see a grey-haired person who is slightly overweight! Well, maybe more than slightly. Who’s that????

“I’m 17”– my friend Beth says!  In our minds, we are all a certain age – 17 or maybe 30 or even 40 for us over the hill gang – 60 is the new 40 these days.

Don’t you know that time passes faster as we age?  Maybe something to do with our brains and how we process time.

Just like the flowers in my garden, our lives are swiftly fading away.

One day we will be a memory to the younger generation.  What will they remember? I asked my granddaughter “What words would you use to describe me?”

“Flowers, food and family,” she said.

When I am no longer able to take care of the flowers, prepare the food and serve my family, will she and my grandsons remember my faith and desire to follow God like their Nana? Our lives are just like a mist that is here today and gone tomorrow but the word of God endures forever.

So, what season are you in?  It will pass so swiftly.  Enjoy each season and share God’s word with your family.

 

James 4:13,14 (NIV)

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

I Peter 1:24 (NIV)

All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

 Ecclesiastes 3 (NIV)

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

 

Fill in the Blanks

How many times have you heard people say “I wish I had asked my parents……………..”  You fill in the blanks.  Shekinah Lane is our story of those blank spaces.  We want future generations of our family and your family to realize that God can use us in our weakness if we dare to dwell in the secret place (the Shekinah glory) of the most High God. 

That glory is only found as we step out in faith, out of our comfort zone, and out of preconceived restrictions.  We experienced the freedom of serving God with people from various backgrounds as well as those who had no religious background to restrict their faith journey. 

 Join us for a book signing of Shekinah Lane

at Union County Library on Friday, May 19, 2:30 – 4:30 pm

 

 When we are young children we depend on our parents.  As teens we tolerate our parents.  Young adults depend on parents again to help with their children.  Midlife finds us busy with our teens – ball games, school activities, and before we know it – we are the grandparents.

Many times only in the later years of our lives do we start to reflect and wish we had spent more time talking to our parents and asking those questions to pass down to future generations.

My family a few years before my parents died.

My parents died in the midst of our sons’ teen age years.  My mother suffered a major heart attack and died a few hours after I arrived at the hospital.  Two years later my father died of lung cancer.  Since I was in that midlife time, I had not asked those questions about my parent’s lives to fill in those blanks.

 

John’s parents both lived long lives.  They moved close to us here in the north Georgia Mountains.  For eleven years we shared them with our sons and their families.

First great-grand child

Second great grand-child

Cha and Cam enjoyed their Mee maw and Great Pa paw

 

Having four generations interact was a delight.

 

 

We enjoyed the twinkle in Great Pa paw’s eye and the smile on Me maw’s face as he shared the story about their wedding night.  Every December 23 he disclosed, as if it was the first time he told it, about when he and Me maw were married and the house caught on fire.  We made them an anniversary DVD one year and the background music was Johnny Cash’s song “We got married in a Fever.”

Third great grand child (Mitchell) with hands raised.

Even though we shared many years with John’s parents, there are still some blanks.  We wish we could talk to them just once more and ask the lyrics to so many jingles that Great Pa paw loved to recite or his secrets for successful crappie fishing 

and also to ask Me maw about her faith journey, her visions, her determination to teach without a formal education.

Shekinah Lane is our attempt to complete many blanks for our children, grandchildren and future generations.  We want them to know the joys as well as the struggles we experienced in our lives.  Our spiritual journey is the train that drives all the adventure.

 Psalm 102:18Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord.