Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Connection

Around 7:30 one morning, I walked outside my house and paused a moment on the driveway before beginning my daily walk. Like the doe I wrote about in the previous blog post, I needed to make sure no danger was lurking nearby.  

Much to my surprise, when I looked to my right, I saw the right rear flank of a deer, but the rest of its body was hidden by scuppernong vines. I readied my cell phone camera and then coughed softly, hoping the slight noise would startle the deer just enough to cause it to reposition itself but not enough to make it bolt. My tactic worked.

The deer backed up a bit in order to see the source and location of the noise.                                                                                                                    



I gasped with delight, not fear, when I saw a young buck. He stood stone still while I snapped a couple of photos. After I lowered my phone, we continued to make eye contact with each other for several seconds before he fled toward his home in the woods.

As I began my walk, I continued to feel the joy of that momentary connection. I thanked God for it—and the photos! I remembered that God wants all His creation to live in harmony. But since sin entered the world ages and ages ago and disrupted the peace and harmony and replaced it with antagonism, the creatures experience only rare and fleeting moments of connectedness (and trust!) that God desires to be the norm.

Innumerable reversals will occur one future day when God sets all things right. The prophet Isaiah mentioned many of them, including these:

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,

The leopard shall die down with the young goat,

The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;

And a little child shall lead them….

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,

For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD

As the waters cover the sea.

Isaiah 11:6-9, NKJV

 

It’s hard to imagine such peace and harmony, such absence of fear and danger and aggression, isn’t it?

But all those miracles, and countless others, will happen when God says the time is right. Until then, I relish even brief moments of connection.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

The Doe and I

In Your presence is fulness of joy; 

At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. 

Psalm 16:11 

 

The doe emerges from the edge of the woods and pauses before she ventures onto my lawn. After turning her head to the left and to the right to assess the safety of the space, she steps cautiously onto the grass. Still alert for possible danger, she strolls toward the pear tree so laden with fruit that one of the branches has fallen off and now lies on the ground. After she nibbles on a green pear, she wanders around the perimeter of the backyard in search of clover and other treats. 



As I watch her, I wonder, Why is she alone? Where are the other does that frequented the yard this time last year? Have they moved elsewhere? Or been killed on the highway? Does she have a fawn that’s too young to venture into the yard?


I hope she does, for I so enjoy seeing young ones grow up and slowly learn how to live in the adult world. And I want her to have a relationship that brings her joy. 


I sense a kindred spirit with the doe. I, too, am alone since my husband passed away six months ago. I, too, am learning to engage in self-care while also making careful decisions about how best to proceed in my current situation. Like the doe, I dare to venture alone into a wider world but then return to the spaces that feel more familiar—and less frightening. After I’ve spent time in seclusion, I summon courage to emerge again to experience the pleasures outside my four walls.  

If the doe and I could converse with each other, perhaps we’d discuss strategies we’re using to ease the ache of aloneness. I’d assure her that God is my Maker and Sustainer—and hers—and that He knows what we need. I’d also tell her that being in close relationship with Him brings me joy despite the loneliness in my heart.


Although she can't understand words, I’d also click on this link, and together we’d listen to the song, Your Presence, Lord: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zEiiZi2DKk 

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Happy Faces. Happy Hearts.

 Below is the content of a blog post I created in June 2015. Enjoy.


Since childhood, I’ve known the song that says, “If you’re happy and you know it then your face will surely show it.”

I was reminded of that recently when I photographed children attending an event in our community. A few were “glum chums.” Others wore bland expressions. But some had such a radiance on their sweet faces that I was immediately drawn to them. They made my job easy, for I didn’t even have to try to coax a smile out of them. All I had to do was take the picture!

Regretfully, I failed to ask permission to post their pictures here. But if I could post them, you’d immediately see the HUGE difference a genuine smile makes. The eyes light up. The face is relaxed. There’s a warmth and a gentleness on it, which is so appealing.

So, I’ll post two photos: one of my Daddy, taken many years ago; and one I took of myself recently while seated near a window in our dining room. Like Daddy, I have a perpetual smile. Like him, I have a glad heart, even when life isn’t one big happy, happy. And, as the song says, the inner happiness (and joy, gladness, cheerfulness) shows up on the face.

A glad heart makes a cheerful face….

~Proverbs 15:13, ESV




Monday, May 27, 2024

Meaningful Memorials

In celebration of Memorial Day, American flags line streets in towns large and small. Flags wave proudly on the grounds of public buildings. Flags flap on residential lawns in response to gentle breezes. Small flags border a huge, raised bed near the front entrance to a nursing home near my house. 



Special ceremonies have been scheduled throughout the USA. Some desserts served at picnics or other gatherings will feature the red, white, and blue colors found on the American flag. Some towns host Memorial Day parades to commemorate soldiers who lost their lives while serving in the armed forces. Graves of the fallen have been decorated with flags or wreaths.

Because we live such hectic lives, we need special days, foods, and activities to remind us to remember someone or something too important to forget. That’s been true throughout the centuries. Even in Old Testament times, people were instructed to observe certain days and/or to construct a memorial of some sort to help them recall a person or an event that impacted their lives.

For example, the seventh chapter of the book of 1 Samuel mentions a memorial the prophet Samuel made from a large stone and placed between two towns. Its purpose? To remind all who saw it of how faithfully God had helped them and, by implication, would continue to do so.

Do you take time out of your busy life to observe Memorial Day and other special days, like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day? Do you have objects that trigger memories of important people and events? Do you pause to give thanks for them?


Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, 

and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.” 

1 Samuel 7:12-13, NKJV

Friday, April 26, 2024

Grief and Gratitude

As I write these words, today is day 116 since my husband passed away. I’ve felt particularly sad and lonely today, which happens when I stay home all day and don’t keep busy, busy, busy. Obviously, activities and conversations mask the grief. But, oh my, I feel the full force of it when I’m alone and not focusing on projects and other tasks on my to-do list. But sometimes I have no choice but to let my tired body rest.


To escape the grief, I went to visit a friend in a nearby nursing home. She was delighted to see me, for she deals with griefs of her own. I was happy to be with her. We talked of many things as we sat outside while relaxing in the sunshine and listening to the birds chirping as they flew among the branches of the trees and boxwoods.


When I returned home, I noticed the first rose of the season on the bush my husband had planted years ago. My heart filled with happiness when I saw it, thankful that the work he had done long ago was lifting my spirits. I looked around the yard and saw not one, but two, pink and white amaryllis blooms--bigger than my palm--with other buds in the background. Once again, I felt grateful for his planting them.

As with most things these days, even a happy thought of days gone by can lead to tears as I realize those days are gone. He will plant no more flowers. But I can enjoy the ones he planted, even as I brush away the tears


Every day, I see other gifts he left behind, each a reminder of his love. And I whisper a heartfelt thank you to him and to God who gave us many years together as husband and wife, years when we made wonderful, now bittersweet, memories.

Sunday, December 17, 2023

The Gift


Throughout the year, I listen carefully while talking with family and friends. When they say, “I’d love to have…”, I take note of that. Doing so, along with listing those ideas in places I’m sure to see them, helps me choose gifts loved ones will enjoy receiving on a special occasion.

As I reflect on gift-giving, several Scripture passages come to mind. One of my favorites is found in the third chapter of the New Testament book of Acts. As the story opens, Peter and John are on their way to worship at the temple. When they hear a lame man begging for money, they stop. Peter says to him, “I don’t have what you’re asking for, but I do have what you need.”

Then, in the name of Jesus and with His power, Peter commands the man to rise up and walk. Although the man had been lame since birth, he stands up and begins leaping and praising God for the gift given to him, a gift far greater than the money he had been asking for.

Likewise, our Heavenly Father knows what we truly need and will supply it in His time and in His way. For example, because God knew the people of all time needed a Savior, He sent His Son at the time God had planned. (See Galatians 4.) And, oh, the gifts He brought. Not only forgiveness of sins and the right to become children of God and to enjoy Him now and throughout all eternity but also love, peace, joy, and so much more.  

We may think we want whatever is inside beautifully packaged gifts, but we need a Savior far more. And God has given us one.

Let’s praise Him for that awesome Gift—and for His other wonderful gifts too numerous to count.

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day 

to all the dads 

who provide a good and godly example

for their children. 



Saturday, May 27, 2023

Honoring the Fallen



Memorial Day…a day to pay tribute to and mourn those who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. As one person pointed out, it is not a celebration but rather a day of solemn contemplation as we consider the vast numbers of men and women who bravely went off to war and never came home. We thank God for their willingness to serve our country. We, along with their families, mourn their passing.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Sing On!

When I colored the 4" x 6" card that's pictured here, the words Oh, sing to the Lord reminded me of my sweet Mama. From childhood on, I remember that many times throughout the day Mama either sang softly or hummed her favorite Gospel songs as she did household chores, crocheted, or quilted. 

Even as Alzheimer's eroded her memory, she still hummed many of her favorite hymns. Their words encouraged her. They enabled her to worship and praise God. They reminded her of eternal truths, of God's precious promises, of the assurance of His love, of His presence with her...

Mama did what Priscilla J. Owens (born in 1829) says to do:

Sing it softly through the gloom,

When the heart for mercy craves;

Sing in triumph o'er the tomb;

Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

I want to do likewise. Do you?