I am a Writer, Poet, Therapy Dog Mom, Homeschool Mom, Nana, and much more. My days are full, but there is always time for writing and reading. It is my prayer GOD will choose to use me in the "craziness" of each day.
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There are easy journey's and there are tough ones. Many times we are caught off guard as we travel life's road. Doug and I will begin 2012 with new adventures. They are not the ones we would have chosen, but we know GOD has a perfect plan for us. We pray as HE shows us the way, HE will give us the strength to continue in the race. In the coming weeks I will share more of the mountain we are facing. It is our prayer GOD will be glorified in and through it all. Unexpected journeys may be difficult, but with GOD all things are possible! At this time, please pray for complete healing and restoration, strength, and grace for each moment. We stand together united in Christ facing each tomorrow together!
Blessings come in all shapes and sizes. Often, there are blessings all around us, but we do not recognize them. The chaos of life distract us from what is most important. Today, let us focus on God's blessings, great and small.
A few blessings from The Perdue Zoo:
~Giggling, squealing grandson makes my heart smile:)
~Granddaughter telling Papa, "I love you mostest and that's all!"
~Families coming together in love with hearts full of grace and mercy!
~God's beautiful creation! Over the last few weeks we have had deer playing in and around our yard late in the evening.
~Friends with hearts full of love!
~Watching GOD bless those who have sacrificed much many years ago!
What blessings to do you see in your zoo/home?
Praying each of you have a Christmas full of unexpected blessings!
"2-3But friends, that's exactly who we are: children of God. And that's only the beginning. Who knows how we'll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we'll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus' life as a model for our own." 1 John 3:2-3 The Message
Friends, it is time to consider what we are teaching those we love the most! Are we teaching them to look to the future with eager expectation? Or, are we teaching them to look back and wallow in the past? Where is your focus?
~Let us teach our children and grandchildren to keep their eyes focused on the Lord!
~Let us live our lives in a way that encourages others to run the race of this life eagerly toward their Heavenly Father!
~My Savior and Lord! He has seen me through many battles!
~My husband, Doug. He is regaining strength and beginning to heal after 23 days of sickness.
~Our children. May they continue to grow into the people GOD created them to be.
~Our grandchildren. Hearing each of them say, "Nana" still makes my heart skip a beat!
~Our fur babies. The ability to share them with others as Therapy Dogs.
~Living in a country where I can worship my Lord openly.
~The US Military. The freedom we each enjoy, daily!
~Many wonderful friends who love me no matter how crazy I act.
~Having a roof over my head, food in my belly, and clothes on my back.
~The ability/freedom to write from my heart.
~Do you ever feel like you are standing on the edge of a pole all alone?
~Are you afraid of what may be ahead of you? or in the water below you?
"He told them, "You don't get to know the time. Timing is the Father's business. What you'll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world." Acts 1:7
If you are like me, you want understanding, clarity, and direction instantly. Fortunately for me, it doesn't usually happen that way. More frequently than not, I am standing on the edge of a pole waiting like this beautiful little bird. I don't like to wait and I don't like heights, yet GOD stretches me by letting me sit there a little while longer.
Did I say "fortunately?" Yes, I did. Usually, I am not ready for what GOD has for me. As HE continues to work in my heart, I realize the "perfectness" of HIS plan.
After returning from a trip to South Carolina, I became ill. For six days I have been plagued with a vicious illness. It does not wish to let go. This morning as I prayed for healing, God reveal greater needs within my body. It's easy to admit we are sick physically, but not always easy to admit we have other issues in need of divine intervention.
From the outside all appears great. Suddenly, my mouth opens and out spews vile, harsh, crackling, germs. I thought I could contain them. How did they purge their way up and out of my body?
Just as harmful virus' and bacteria invade our bodies and escape without permission into others lives, so do harmful thoughts, patterns, and behaviors. We think we have them carefully hidden, yet out of our hearts they leap injuring those in their path. Looks are certainly deceiving!
It's time for a clean up, a healing of heart, body, and soul.
"The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don't, the parts we see and the parts we don't. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance." 1 Corinthians 12:25 The Message
"I'm hurt and in pain; Give me space for healing, and mountain air." Psalm 69:29 The Message
"Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track. Don't assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil! Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life! Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best. Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over. But don't, dear friend, resent God's discipline; don't sulk under his loving correction. It's the child he loves that God corrects; a father's delight is behind all this." Proverbs 3:5 The Message
Recognizing our health affects the health of others, lets attempt a clean up. Join me as I:
~Develop a more passionate prayer time!
~Dig deeper in HIS word!
~Purge the unhealthy!
~Embrace GODS presence!
~Seek to become all HE created you to be!
As we gaze at GOD's creation, let's remember what is really important!
"27-29"Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. 30-33"If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. 34"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." Matthew 6:27-34 The Message
Freedom means different things to each person. For me it means:
Freedom to go where I want to go.
Freedom to sing the songs of my heart.
But, most of all, freedom to worship my LORD!
Yet, their is a deeper freedom when one has a relationship with Christ! This freedom will not allow the pain of the past to keep rearing its ugly head or others to control our happiness. Most of all, this freedom allows each of us to enjoy the blessings GOD intends for us without allowing fear to control our present and future. I am learning this freedom, now! Visiting South Carolina, the place that represents much pain for me has once again been used by GOD to give me perspective!
I am convinced satan uses the pain of the past and fear of future pain and heart ache to control us!
We must NOT allow satan to steal our joy any longer! The pain that grips your chest or the nausea that grips your stomach is satan. Join me in allowing GOD full control of that area of your life. HE is fully capable of handling it. Enjoy the blessings, gifts, and freedoms HE has prepared for you and I pledge to do the same!
"For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17
"I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out in freedom,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Come into the light.’ They will be my sheep, grazing in green pastures and on hills that were previously bare." Isaiah 49:9
Hikers use trail names. My trail name would be "Keep Movin Nana" affectionately given by my granddaughter, Savannah. "Keep Movin Nana" is a great metaphor for this life I am living. The race may be long and difficult, but I must "keep movin" toward the prize.
"Keep Movin Nana" reminds me to continue faithfully on my journey with GOD. I may stumble and fall, but I can begin anew whether crawling or walking. Sometimes my journey will be made in baby steps and sometimes I will run with the wind of the Holy Spirit.
Each new day holds an adventure. Some adventures easy and some difficult; that's GODS surprise. Let's embrace the surprises of each day with a deepened faith and growing prayer life.
~Are you moving toward the goal?
~Are you continuing to shake the dust of this life off and begin anew?
~Are you praying your way through this life?
"All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize." 1 Corinthians 9:25 NLT
"I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." Philippians 3:14 NLT
"And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing." 2 Timothy 4:8 NLT
"He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession." James 1:18 NLT
Gazing upon these beautiful mushrooms, one forgets, if eaten they can be deadly. Isn't that the way with other things in this world? Temptations are not usually ugly. If they were we would not be tempted by them.
"Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak." Mark 14:38
May we stand strong in the face of temptation, keeping our eyes fully focused on GOD!
Not rain, not humidity, not even pesky mosquitoes thwarted the plans of Doug's classmates. Memories and love spilled forth as they shared their hearts with one another. Beautiful smiles and warm hearts radiated as laughter sprinkled with tears fell upon many. God's presence spoke loudly!
Time well spent, valued, and cherished. One never knows if tomorrow shall come. With reality held in hand, Doug approached these events with purpose, grace, and serenity. He purposed to listen carefully and hear the hearts of his classmates.
Privileged I am to have viewed this weekend through the heart of my best friend and husband, Doug. I praise God for his presence in my life and I pray he and I will share many other reunion of hearts with others along the way.
"Friends come and go. They seldom know, but they do change you." Laurence Craig-Green
Tuesday, Doug and I spent the day touring the Metro Richmond Zoo with our grandbabies, Savannah and Elijah. We took our time and watched the animals. My favorite animal in the zoo was the chimps.
I told Doug and the kids, "It looks like they are praying!" Even the Chimps bow in prayer before their LORD! Every moment with Savannah and Eli is a teaching moment. Don't forget the impact you have each and every moment of your life to reveal GOD's presence and share about HIM!
" Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 NLT
When Kat asked me to write for her, I almost instantly knew I was suppose to answer her questions. I pray GOD will use those answers about a very difficult time in my life for HIS good will and purpose.
"He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good." Deuteronomy 8:15
Many seasons in life take us to places we may or may not want to be. GOD has a reason and a purpose. Help us, Lord to see our way through each season with humble hearts. Help us to be found faithful, obedient servants. Help us not to fail You, Lord!
Sometimes, I even stomp around!
I have lived out my life speaking my mind and heart....the good, the bad, and the ugly to GOD.
You might say:
"That doesn't sound very respectful!"
My answer to you would be:
GOD already knows my heart. He wants me to give all those hurts, pains and even questions to HIM. HE is GOD and HE can handle anything and everything I throw at HIM! HE loves me deeply, this I know for sure! In my deepest time of need, hurt, or pain, HE has never abandoned me. HE has held me in HIS arms and soothed my broken heart when "no" human could.
"The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.He is my shield, the power that saves me,and my place of safety." Psalm 18:2 My life lesson:
Never be afraid to share "all" of what's on your heart with GOD!
By HIS mercy and in the grip of HIS grace,
~This week I received an email asking me if there was a biblical reference for "storming the heavens in prayer." I used this term privately for many years. A couple of years ago, I began using it publicly, because it represents my actions in prayer. I realized my actions deserved an explanation. So, now you all know what "storming the heavens in prayer" means to me.
As you stand in the meadow of your life, look toward the heavens. His beauty and presence pierces even the thickest cloud cover. Do not allow what is happening in your meadow to blindfold or shadow your focus on your Heavenly Father!
For some time, I have been reviewing my life. With pen in hand, I continue giving voice to emotions and reality. Reliving and processing reality is not easy. However, GOD continues to reveal HIMSELF to me in ways beyond my comprehension. I would love to say, I'm done or almost done. The truth is, I have only begun tapping a deep well!
With each new revelation comes an opportunity to learn and grow. There are days of forging ahead wide open and there are days I can not move. Today, I am resting with my feet in this beautiful pool of water at the base of the water fall. No, I am not there literally. However, I am there in spirit with my LORD.
As the waters of reality and emotion rush over the falls they find rest at the bottom in a calm pool. So, as I forge ahead, I am assured of GOD's rest a long the way. Isaiah 43 reminds me, "He will not let the waters overtake me."
My life's path has been treacherous at times. More times than not it has taken many twists and turns toward the unknown. There have been numerous painful places. I have forged ahead, sometimes crawling out of despair on my hands and knees.
So many times, my friends and family have said, "you are the strong one!"
Last night, I cried out to GOD, "I do NOT want to always be the strong one....why can't I be the child?"
HE said, "you are the child...MY child...I am all you need!"
From as early as four years old, I remember crying out to GOD in prayer! My strength comes from HIM! I am never alone. HE is always with me. HE has called me to a difficult journey. A journey I am not sure I want to face, yet I know I must.
"See, God has come to save me.I will trust in him and not be afraid.The Lord God is my strength and my song;he has given me victory.” Isaiah 12:2
"But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.They will soar high on wings like eagles.They will run and not grow weary.They will walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him. 3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease. 4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection. 5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day. 6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday. 7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you. 8 Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.9 If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter, 10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home. 11 For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go. 12 They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. 13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! 14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name. 15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them. 16 I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.” Psalm 91 NLT
Over the last 45 years GOD has never allowed more pain in my life than I could endure. HE has never allowed me to be consumed by the enemy. Though the enemy has come close, my GOD has remained faithful to protect me.
There have been times where I have stumbled and crawled into HIS arms battered and bruised. Each time, HE lovingly healed my heart. HE used the broken and cracked pieces of my heart to mold me into the person I am today.
Our HEAVENLY FATHER is greater than any obstacle in our lives. Do NOT allow family drama, dysfunction, judgement, or other circumstances to sway your focus from HIM who loves you most. When your earthly parents fail you step into the arms of your ABBA FATHER. HE will "never" fail you!
Oh, my friend, it's not what they take away from you that counts. It's what you do with what you have left. ~Hubert Humphrey
Often, we dwell on what is missing in our lives instead of the blessings. Today, I am reminded of all GOD has done in and through my life. I count it a joy to look backwards knowing I grew through the journey. I am who I am today, because of where I have been.
"The joy of the Lord is my strength." Nehemiah 8:10
What are you doing with what GOD gave you? Are you embracing the journey with eager expectations?
This weekend, our daughter Lauren rode her young horse, Keyo for the first time. She raised him with gentleness and love and trained him with a firm and gentle hand. Lauren prepared for this day for almost 2 years. Keyo performed "a little dance" before he submitted.
As I stood by photographing this monumental event, I realized the similarity between Lauren and Keyo to myself and my Heavenly Father.
~I have the training!
~I am loved!
~I have been disciplined with love!
Often, I too "dance around" before I submit to God's call on my life.
How about you? Are you still "dancing around" or are you fully submitting to HIS call on your life?
I took this picture while we were on vacation. When I uploaded all the images to my laptop, I was amazed. I have tried many times to capture a good image of the moon and this time it worked. Don't ask me how I did it, because I have no clue. It is definitely a "God Thing!" I can not take credit.
I have always loved to look at the moon. When my children were little I use to sing a song we called, "The Moon Song." Often, they would say, Mommie, "Sing us the moon song." The words go something like this:
"I see the moon and the moon sees me. God bless the moon and God bless me!"
I can not look at the moon without thinking about this song. Many of my friends and family are scattered around the world. Each night, as we gaze upon the beautiful moon GOD has given us, our hearts are united in praise. We may be thousands of miles apart, but we are together in spirit with our Heavenly Father as our guide.
~If your nights look too gloomy or dark, look to the heavens. Your/our Heavenly Father is blessing each of us with just enough light to make it through the darkness.
Do you feel as though you are being overtaken by the waves of life? God is our anchor and though sometimes we can not see or feel His presence fully, He is there! Cling tightly and embrace His truths. He will see you through!
"1-4 But now, God's Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
the One who got you started, Israel:
"Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you.
I've called your name. You're mine.
When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you.
When you're in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you're between a rock and a hard place,
it won't be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That's how much you mean to me!
That's how much I love you!
I'd sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you." Isaiah 43:1-4 The Message
Yesterday, our family enjoyed a beautiful afternoon with extended family and friends. These four precious blessings played for hours in the heat. Not one time did we here even a whimper from any of them. Our day was full of laughs, love, and smiles.
Did I mention the heat? I don't know what the heat index or the actual temperature was yesterday, but it was HOT! As I watched the kids through out the afternoon, I began to think about how well they handled the heat. As we get older, the heat is more difficult. Let's face it, life is more difficult. As we say at "The Perdue Zoo," "Life is complicated!"
~ Is your life complicated?
~How well are you handling the heat?
~What is your attitude like?
Let us allow GOD to pour Himself out to us and through us, especially in those "hot" times. May He be glorified even greater when our lives are complicated and uncomfortable.
Savannah is learning to swim. She is clearly still a beginner and needs assistance and supervision. For safety, when playing she also needs flotation devices in deep water, unless someone is working with her. As I looked at the pictures from Savannah's birthday party last weekend, I began to think about how we need a little help to stay afloat in this world. We can not do it on our own. God give us everything we need, but we do not always use it. We go our own way. We have His constant presence within us and His word to guide us, yet we pay no attention to His lead or direction, sometimes.
~Focus on your Heavenly Father.
~Spend lots of time with Him, in prayer.
~Study His word an know it for yourself. Do not depend on others. Get in there and dig deeper seeing what GOD has to say to "you!"
Let's stay afloat with the guiding hand of our Heavenly Father!
Do you ever feel like you are just buzzing around with no where to land?
God has a perfect plan for each of us. If your world has served up a tray of unknowns; be certain there is a perfect plan designed by a perfect God! Keep your eyes on God and keep buzzing in His direction. He will use each detail in your life for His good will and purpose.
"And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." Romans 8:28 NLT
"I will lead blind Israel down a new path,
guiding them along an unfamiliar way.
I will brighten the darkness before them
and smooth out the road ahead of them.
Yes, I will indeed do these things;
I will not forsake them." Isaiah 42:16 NLT
Just like Israel, GOD will lead us out of darkness. He will light our path. Hang on to the One who loves you most. Cling tightly to the glimmer of light and crawl, if you must into it.
~THANK YOU for your prayers for our son, Wil. He is recovering well. He still has some pain, but is hoping to progress to get back to normal soon.
God paints a beautiful picture each and every day. Sometimes, it is hard to see HIS hand at work because our hearts are full of pain. Yesterday, Doug and I were able to watch GOD paint a beautiful picture in the hearts of a beautiful family. Their sacrifice many years ago, became our blessing!
"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
Our hearts are full of joy and thankfulness. GOD faithfully calmed our fears and revealed HIMSELF in a powerful way to everyone present. As GOD allows I will share more of our blessing and the sacrifice of this family. For now, know if you are facing a difficult choice:
~HE is faithful!
~HE will see you through to the end!
~HE will bless your obedience and faithfulness!
~HE will answer your prayers!
In the quietness of each day, I contemplate the path GOD has for me. I look forward to the journey ahead, yet there are times when I become nervous, especially when it relates to my children and grandchildren. We face new adventures with our children almost daily. The youngest is 18 and the oldest will be 29, soon. There are five, total. Over the last few weeks, I have realized my nervousness could be measured in a lack of trust in what lies ahead. I "say" I fully trust GOD with each of them, yet I am nervous!
"Answer this question: Does the God who lavishly provides you with his own presence, his Holy Spirit, working things in your lives you could never do for yourselves, does he do these things because of your strenuous moral striving or because you trust him to do them in you? Don't these things happen among you just as they happened with Abraham? He believed God, and that act of belief was turned into a life that was right with God." Galatians 3:5 The Message
Oh my, after reading this verse over and over a few times I find myself full of both conviction and hope. I am reminded of something my husband often tells me, "there is nothing you can do to fix this situation. Some things only GOD can fix." Wise man, listening to an even wiser GOD.
Join me as I trust GOD with each new adventure in the lives of our children and grandchildren. HE is faithful. HE will continue to prepare the way before each of them.
In the brokenness of our lives there is beauty. It is our choice when we have a broken heart as to how it is filled. We can choose to cling to the pain or release it and allow GOD to fill the damaged crevice. What will it be for you?
The broken places in my heart have been filled with GOD's presence, revealing HIS beauty. I look back at some of the most painful times in my life and realize my surrender to HIS will is the reason I survived. I am a survivor. There is beauty beneath the pain of the past!
Recently, I read about a prison in the path of the floods. The message caught my attention. The inmates are working tirelessly and with positive attitudes to save their prison. One inmate was interviewed and asked why he was working so hard. His reply spoke deeply to me. He said, "I know this place. I can not image going to another place or what it might be like."
I thought about the prisons of the heart. God does NOT want us to be imprisoned, but many times we stay there because it is all we know. It is safe or at least we think it is safe.
Jesus paid the price for us. He longs to release and heal our hearts from the things that hold us back.
Why is it we stay in our own man made prisons?
Why are we not enjoying the lives GOD created us to enjoy?
It seems so sensible to move out of our self imposed prisons, yet many sit here! Let us boldly step forth, accept all HE has for us, and enjoy the life HE has created and planned for us. Today, let us together take a step of faith and leave the pain in our hearts at the feet of JESUS!
So many of us find ourselves struggling as we seek to follow GOD's will for our lives. HE lays the plan before us, gives us guidance, and clear direction, yet when the enemy tosses obstacles in our paths we stumble and act clueless. It seems so silly when we remember "the battle belongs to the LORD." With all the head and heart knowledge I still stumble and fall.
GOD has given me clear direction on a project and daily I find every excuse not to work on it. The difficulties and distractions come from every direction. I share this with you because I am confident I am not the only one struggling. Let us join together in prayer for one another. Let us remember where HE leads HE will supply all we need and if we face a fire, HE will go with us through it.
"1 But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine. 2 When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you. 3 For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom;
I gave Ethiopia[a] and Seba in your place." Isaiah 43:1-3 NLT
As I climbed one mountain after another through the years, I have become more and more aware of the strength GOD has given me. He never fails me. He always gives me what I need. He faithfully meets me in the depths of my despair and carries me when I can not walk on my own. He will do the same for each of you.
My journey has taken the scenic route and I have come to appreciate all the twists and turns. The adventurous and difficult road has molded me into the person I am, today. Sure, I could have avoided some of the difficulties by making different choices, however, I can not change them, now. Surely, others can learn from the road I have followed and make wiser and more GODLY decisions as a result.
"And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." Romans 8:28 NLT
I now look at each mountain, hill, and valley with different eyes. I look through the eyes of my Heavenly Father. I enjoy each moment of each day and appreciate all He has for me. I pray each of you will look through HIS eyes as you face life's trials.
Each day is a new adventure! Sometimes the ground beneath us is lush and soft, sometimes prickly and a bit shaky. GOD promises to complete the good work HE began in each of us. HE is faithful to see us through! I pray each of us would have the heart of a little child. My grandson, Elijah has no fear of what lies ahead. He is eager to see the great big world and explore each part of it. Let us have the heart of a little child and "Go With GOD!"
Are you ready for what GOD has for you?
Are you embracing what lies ahead with eager expectation?
Embracing new adventures with a smile and a heart for what God wants,
“‘You must love the Lord yourGod with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love yourneighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27 NLT
As I contemplate the cross and all it means to me, I am drawn back to the scripture God impressed upon me when I began raising my children. Simply put, if I love GOD with all I've got and I share HIS love with everyone all the rest falls into place. I remember telling a friend once, if I could teach my children to "love the Lord with all their hearts and their neighbors as themselves" I will have accomplished the most important lesson in this life. My children are grown, now and I still pray GOD continues to mold each of them into the people HE created them to be. I pray HE gives them loving hearts, both for HIM and for others.
Now, as I cradle my grandbabies, Savannah and Elijah, I pray the same prayers for each of them. I am more determined than ever to pass a heritage of love to each of them. I pray each of them will arise with a heart full of love and confidence each day, knowing their LORD loves them and has a special plan for their lives. Indeed, HE is faithful to feel in the gaps and make a way where there is no other way.
For the last few weeks I have been working my way through 1 Samuel 15-31, watching Saul chase David in the wilderness. With each encounter David sought God's direction while Saul went about doing things his own way. No matter how bad things were, God never left or abandoned David. He was with him every step of the way.
Many of us are in our own wilderness, now. Some are experiencing devastating disease, some family crisis, others financial crisis. The list goes on and on and does not seem to end. We must cling to GOD like never before and patiently wait on HIS lead in each situation. Clinging, no problem for me. Patience, well that is another matter all together. Clearly, I, with most of you, am still a work in progress. Oh, how I long to be a woman after God's own heart. Each of us must examine our own hearts. Will we be found to be a David or a Saul?
With many things on my heart during this study, God gave me a prayer:
Father, please be with all my friends, their families, and my family, immediate and extended....those I know and those I don't know....those who love me and those who don't. Bless each of them and draw each one of them into your good and perfect will. Do whatever it takes to for them to surrender to your good and perfect will. Please do not allow me to be a hindrance to their faith and please forgive me if I have caused harm to anyone in any way. Father, please mold each of us into the people you created us to be. Let us be men and women, like David, with hearts for God and God alone!
This view is beheld each time the members of Rileyville Baptist Church attend services. Astounding beauty and a vast reminder of GOD's power and strength encourage each of us. I can not see this view from where I live and likely the view out your window is not as magnificent, but let us remember HE is faithful to see us through the difficult times in our lives.
As my prayer list grows and nearly every friend and family member struggles with something, I am reminded the battle belongs to HIM who loves us most. We are to lay it all at HIS feet and leave it there! If you are like me, I often pick those requests back up and try to fix them or I senselessly worry about them. Let us stand together, binding our hearts in agreement to leave each and every need at HIS feet.
This picture was taken on Saturday while standing in the valley of Luray, Virginia. I spent Friday and Saturday in Luray attending a Woman's Conference at Rileyville Baptist Church. The picture does NOT adequately capture what is happening. The Luray valley is surrounded on all sides by the mountains. I could do a complete 360 and never lose sight of the mountains and all their glory.
As I snapped pictures, I was overcome with emotion realizing I was witnessing a snow storm on the mountain. Through the lens of my camera I could see the snow swirl around all over the mountain. As God rolled the clouds and snow over the mountain all I could do was watch and smile. A fresh blanket of white snow laced the mountain before me.Truly a mountaintop blessing experienced from deep within the valley.
Many of you know how much I love the mountains and snow. For those who don't, let's just say I never tire of seeing the mountains or a beautiful snow storm, no matter how deep the snow gets. God certainly cares about the desires of our heart. I drove to Luray with much on my mind. Many friends and family have endured serious illness and other tragic events over the last few months. God knew I needed a fresh word from Him. I would like to share His lessons for me from this snow storm with each of you.
~It is deep within the valley GOD often reveals HIMSELF and all HIS beauty!
~Slow down and look! Do NOT allow the world or your problems to hinder your view!
~Focus on HIM who loves you most! He is faithful to see you through the valley of your affliction!
~Don't miss any blessings while you are in the valley of your affliction!
Life's ridges in the sand our lives unfolds as we embrace the twists and turns. If we allow, uncertainty and fear of the unknown may plague us. In time, we are often able to see the beauty in the ridges and crevasses of our lives. Embrace the unknown with eager expectation waiting for a glimpse of GODS beauty within those hollowed out places. Do NOT allow depression to fill those places, but rather be filled with the presence of the one who loves you most, Jesus!
"How lovely are Your dwelling places,O LORD of hosts!" Psalm 84:1 NAS
The obituary below is for a couple I never knew. Reading about the lives of these two beautiful people made a profound impact on me, today. I pray their legacy will be magnified through all the lives they touched over the years. May we learn from those who go before us:
CROSSLAND. It is with profound sadness that we announce the deaths of our beloved parents, Mary and Clem, who departed this life, five days apart, during the week of March 14, 2011. Mary Cecilia Gramch Crossland, adored wife and cherished mother, completed her journey in this life on March 14, in the physical presence and emotional comfort of her husband and children. Her body could not overcome the combined effects of surgery for a fractured hip and the various health issues against which she had struggled so mightily for the past few months. She had reached the point where she could no longer maintain the fierce and full-out pace with which she lived her entire life and she was very clear that she did not want to live with anything less than the full measure. Clem Casper Crossland, adored husband and cherished father, completed his journey in this life on March 19. Our father began his last trip to be with his mate within an hour of her passing, and while she was still beside him in their own bedroom in their own home, surrounded by his children. Although he had borne with courage and grace several physical ailments of age, he simply died of a broken heart. During the last week of their lives, our father proclaimed with the same quiet, but assured voice he had always used to convey important information, "Your mother and I are tired from the inside out." It was our privilege to be holding the hands of each of our parents during the final days and hours of their time here with us. They left as they lived - together, with the lady first. Our parents had been granted the best of everything one could hope for in this life: a long and meaningful span of years with one devoted mate, a large and devoted family, and a close circle of devoted friends, after completing a personally satisfying and important career in the field of medicine. Most especially, they were bequeathed the gift of having five healthy children whom they lived to see become educated and contributing adults, something that is denied to so many mothers and fathers. Our mother was born on May 23, 1922 in Cincinnatus, New York, the daughter of Stanley and Cecilia Gramch. Our father was born in Tinley Park, Illinois, on July 5, 1922 to Clem and Ruth Crossland, and spent his early childhood in Bradenton, Florida. He attended the University of Florida and, at the tender age of 18, was admitted to the George Washington Medical School. In 1943, while living as a "career girl" in Washington, D.C., and working in the office of the Dean of Medical School of George Washington University, Mary Gramch met her future husband, Clem Crossland, who was a third-year medical student. They married in 1944 on November 27, and were anticipating the celebration of their 67th anniversary this year. Following a term of service in the United States Army that included a posting to Trieste, Italy, the young couple returned to the Commonwealth of Virginia at Camp Pickett. Following his discharge from the military, our father commenced his professional life as a general practitioner of medicine, first in the town of Crewe, and two years later, in 1953, in the town of Holland. Our parents intentionally chose to live in a rural area as a way of keeping their children rooted with a sense of community, a defined purpose, the joys of outdoor life, and the opportunities to participate in the tending of a menagerie of livestock and pets. Our parents were true and lifelong partners in the two greatest enterprises they undertook practicing medicine and rearing their children. Except for the brief period of military service and a few nights when one of them was in the hospital over the years, our parents spent every single day in the presence of each other. Throughout her life, our mother reminded us daily of the admonition from St. Luke: "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." Our father was the gentlest, kindest and most considerate soul to occupy the planet earth, and certainly who will ever occupy our lives, hearts and memories. He was an intellectually brilliant and personally humble man who was a superb diagnostician of conditions of both the body and soul. He was unfailingly polite to everyone and grateful for every aspect of his life. In every action he took and each word he spoke, he exemplified what it means to live the good life. Our parents were devoted to their patients and dispensed care, medications and comfort with equal measures of respect and tenderness. They instilled in us courage, confidence, curiosity and compassion, the core values that will enable us to face our future despite the immeasurable loneliness that each of us will feel. We, as their children, hope we have been and will continue to be a source of pride to our parents. We also hope that the careers we have chosen and the manner in which we conduct ourselves has and always will reflect honorably on our parents' names and on the community that helped in our upbringing. Our mother and our father were the last surviving members of their immediate families. They leave a special lifelong friend whom they selected as the godmother to all five of their children, Albena Rose Cammarata of Ansonia, Connecticut. Our parents are survived by their five children, Dr. Stanley Gramch Crossland of Annandale, Virginia, Dr. Cathy Lee Crossland of Raleigh, North Carolina, Dr. Stephen Paul Crossland (wife, Sue) of LaVale, Maryland, and Richmond, Virginia, Sharon Ann Crossland of Richmond, Virginia and Mary Christine Crossland of Richmond, Virginia. They also leave to contemplate their memory and influence seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. The Crossland family wishes to express its profound gratitude to the persons in Carrsville and the surrounding small towns and communities who provided such a splendidly happy and secure life for all of us. We appreciate those who remained steadfast friends beyond the time when our parents relocated to be closer to their two daughters in Richmond when their health no longer permitted the rigors of a solo medical practice after more than 50 years in the same community. To the very end, our mother described our father and herself as "country mice, not city mice." The Crossland girls (Cathy, Sharon and Mary) wish to express their deep gratitude to their brother, Stephen, who served in the role as the primary care physician for our parents for several years and whose continuous presence and ministering to their needs and that of his sisters made the past two weeks bearable for each of us. We wish to publicly acknowledge the presence and endless contributions of our nephew, Stephen Crossland Jr., who brought such sustained happiness to our parents' lives during the time he lived beside them in Richmond and who was with each of his grandparents during their final hours, accepting with grace, generosity and maturity the witnessing of the end of their remarkable lives. We are also grateful to Dr. James A. "Tommy" Thompson, Dr. Kim Harris and Dr. Glen Giessel for bestowing on our parents for several years the same level of exquisite care that our parents provided to their own patients. They treated our parents with respect and kindness and a level of competence that allowed us to have them in our lives far longer than most adult children have their parents. There are some debts that are so enormous that they can never be repaid in full, even in a small measure - and the devotion of one's family is one of those. In honor of our parents, we ask that each of you pay it forward by treating your own loved ones with dignity, kindness and compassionate care for as long as you have the strength and resources, for you will not regret a day that you do so. The family will receive friends on Wednesday, March 23, between 4 and 6 p.m. at Wright Funeral Home in Franklin, Virginia. A private family funeral and burial service has been scheduled. Dear Lord, have mercy on our parents' souls and treat them kindlyIn honor of our parents, we ask that each of you pay it forward by treating your own loved ones with dignity, kindness and compassionate care for as long as you have the strength and resources, for you will not regret a day that you do so.
Please pray with me for this family and take their challenge:
In honor of our parents, we ask that each of you pay it forward by treating your own loved ones with dignity, kindness and compassionate care for as long as you have the strength and resources, for you will not regret a day that you do so. Blessed by this families memories, Andrea
"One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek:That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,To behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in His temple." Psalm 27:4 NAS
Each day brings renewed strength and beauty. I am thankful GOD has allowed me to watch HIM work in and through so many lives. I praise GOD for answered prayers and continue to storm the heavens for so many. In the posts below are several prayer requests. Please continue to pray for each of these people.
Once again, Edie has outdone herself creating a beautiful prayer button for Kailly. Edie is a dear friend and the author of several blogs. Please visit her at Rich Gifts and thank her for all she does to glorify her LORD! Please pick up Kailly's beautiful prayer button on the side bar for your blog(s).
Update on Kailly: Kailly was placed in the Halo device late last night and may be able to go home, today. She will be re-evaluated after 3 months of wearing the halo. We praise GOD for the miracle of sparing her life and for all HE has already done in and through her life.
Thank you for storming the heavens with us. There are other updates in the posts below. May GOD bless each of you!
"When they were sick, I dressed in black; instead of eating, I prayed. My prayers were like lead in my gut, like I'd lost my best friend, my brother. I paced, distraught as a motherless child, hunched and heavyhearted." Psalm 35:13 The Message
"Quiet down before God, be prayerful before him. Don't bother with those who climb the ladder, who elbow their way to the top." Psalm 37:7 The Message
"When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you, From Jordan depths to Hermon heights, including Mount Mizar. Chaos calls to chaos, to the tune of whitewater rapids. Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers crash and crush me. Then God promises to love me all day, sing songs all through the night! My life is God's prayer." Psalm 42:6 The Message
"God, listen to me shout, bend an ear to my prayer. When I'm far from anywhere, down to my last gasp, I call out, "Guide me up High Rock Mountain!" Psalm 61:1 The Message
I with many of you have been storming the heavens in prayer for friends, family, animals, and my own personal needs. I thank each of you who have joined in prayer with me. GOD is always faithful and hears our prayers. Today, I want to update you and bring other prayer requests to your attention:
MaryGrace: She is home and using a walker. She was able to sit on her screened in porch with family yesterday. She is progressing daily. This is clearly a miracle. I pray GOD will continue to fully heal and restore her body, heart, and soul. I pray HE will use this time to draw MaryGrace and each of her family members and friends closer to our precious LORD and Savior!
Kailly: My great niece was in an automobile accident yesterday afternoon/evening in SC. By all accounts she should be dead. However, GOD is greater than "should be's." Kailly has a broken neck, but is able to move her hands and feet. She has already received numerous miracles in the last 24 hours and we recognize them. Kailly is 18 years old and loves the LORD. I pray HE will use this experience for HIS glory as HE fully heals and restores Kailly's body. Please storm the heavens with me for Kailly. Kailly is the granddaughter of my sister Courtney and her husband, David Smith.
Me: Many of you did not know, but I had an outpatient procedure done yesterday. The procedure went well, however the pain was extreme for about 8 hours after the procedure. Yesterday, was indeed a tough day. I praise GOD for seeing me through and continuing to heal my body. Today, I am sipping on coffee and clinging to my heating pad and Bible while I praise GOD for the ability to sit up and move around. HE has truly given me an appreciation for the small things. I praise GOD for a wonderful husband who never left my side.
"Let me shout God's name with a praising song, Let me tell his greatness in a prayer of thanks." Psalm 69:30 The Message