Friday, May 25, 2012

focused on Glory (and reminiscing)

Last week was crazy, and I'm sorry for skipping my foG post. I'm probably speaking only to Jennifer. She's pretty much the only person that cares about whether or not I post anything here, and I'm okay with that. To the three or four of you that stop by from time to time, I also apologize for my lack of posting.

Some of the issue goes back to Mother's Day. My mother lost her baby sister that day. Over the next few days we tracked several miles down memory lane. That included pulling out old photographs. We needed to choose pictures for my Aunt Susan's memorial. In the process, we paused over many other printed memories. 

Here is a bit of what we found. Most of the photos didn't make it into the shot, but this is a nifty sampling of our family from years past with the exception of one picture of Tony & Mama. I don't know how that one got mixed in with the old ones, but I like it, so I didn't remove it. Click on the image for a larger view.

Some of these folks are gone, and I miss them. I love the ones who remain, and I pray for them by name. My deepest desire is for each of us to know God intimately. There isn't a hurt He can't carry us through. Of all the times I thought He had abandoned me, I can look back and admit that I was the one to turn my back. 

Jesus gave up more than I can imagine to come to our imperfect (by our own hands) world. He became one of us so we would know He understands how we feel. He gave up life willingly. No one took it. He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to redeem us. Without Him there is no entrance to Heaven. We are not worthy to stand before God, but all of us will. I know that when my time comes that Jesus will step forward and say, "She's mine." In the meantime, I hope to stay focused on Glory, and do my best to honor His grace.

Please don't miss Jef's BLOG. She has some good stuff coming.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pledge of Allegiance

...but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior,
 the Lord Jesus Christ. 
Philippians 3:20

Above all I am a citizen of Heaven, and I strive to do my best as such. Secondarily I am a citizen of the United States of America, which instills a responsibility and honor I am blessed to bear.

God knew me before He created the first drop of water or blade of grass. He knew my story and how I would fit into His creation. God picked the USA to be my country. It was HIS choice, and I'm pretty sure He knew what He was doing.

Can the US be described as over-indulgent, lazy, misguided, or wasteful? Of course. We are an imperfect body made up of imperfect people. But does this make us worthless and irredeemable?


America is imperfect. It is full of over-indulgent, lazy, misguided, and wasteful people, but that is only part of the story, and part of a story is never enough for a whole picture. 

Our GREAT country is also populated with amazing Christian and American constituencies. Two great examples are Wayne and Andrea Rial. Wayne served our country as a Marine and now works for the VA. He and Andrea actively serve our country by working with Young Marines, teaching them dignity, honor, respect, and instilling an excellent work ethic within. They also serve their church and teach, chaperon, and role model the student ministry. Finally they are raising their children to be confident, intelligent thinking, Christ loving future adults. 

Another couple to mention is Anne and Richard Wells. Richard has served our country as a federal agent, judge, attorney, and corporate executive. He and Anne raised four daughters. These women are beautiful legacies of their parents faith and trust in God. 

I remember meeting Anne when I was in my mid 20s. I had agreed to teach a youth girl's Bible study. Being new to the church and not knowing many people, the youth pastor told me he would find a helper for me. He called to tell me that Mrs. Anne Wells would be my helper. I was dumbfounded. I tried to back out, saying that she could teach, and I would be her helper. 

I had only been attending the church for a few weeks, but I had heard of Anne Wells. She was one of those women in the church. The kind you want to be when you grow up. I knew I had plenty to learn from her. How could I possible be the lead in a classroom? It was too much like Timothy asking Paul to be his assistant. Anne wouldn't hear of it. She let me know that she had not been called to lead that group of girls. She became a beautiful mentor to me and drew me into her family during my few years in NW AR.

Anne and Richard taught their girls and countless others by their example. Their faith is apparent in their words and actions. 

There are many others I could mention, but I'm sure you get the message. We are not a lost cause. I believe we are still the greatest nation. If we want to see a change then we must DO something. Being an election year drives this point home all the more. As Americans we have the right, duty, and honor of electing our officials, but this message isn't about voting. It's about being the citizens God is calling us to be, and it starts by getting on our knees. 

I am distressed by all the anti-American sentiment flooding my senses. I see it on the computer, television, and in the papers. There's even a new TV show on the fall line-up that describes a group of good-conscience military personnel defecting to an island and declaring their independence from the US.

We have celebrities who have met with foreign leaders to discuss how evil we are. Then those celebrities suggest that we emulate those countries that have declared their hatred for the US. How ridiculous. Our freedom of speech definitely illuminates our ignorance at times.

I love being a citizen of the United States of America. I will never turn my back on my country, but I will kneel down for it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

(re)focused on Glory

Last week was rough. I was feeling a little bruised. I needed a heavenly hug, and I got one- several actually. I poured out my heart to God, and He loved me. He reminded me that I'm his girl, that I can do this, and that it's okay keep running to Him. He never gets tired of me. He loves me.

My heart still hurts for the friends who are grieving the loss of a parent, and a friend who has gone through a tough couple of months. But I'm also delighted in the joy I see even in the face of death. And I'm proud of the growth and strength I see in a friend traveling through a dense valley. 

Last night I attended my first "Prayer & Share" with my new SS class. It was sorely needed. Encouraging isn't a strong enough descriptor. Our "speaker" was one of the ladies from class. She shared what God had given to her, and it was soaked up as a sponge by those in the room.

I was/am going through a dry spell in many areas of my life, and Tammy spoke to my heart. She shared a passage that broke the skin, dug deep, and implanted itself. 

At least there is hope for a tree: 
    If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
    and its new shoots will not fail. 
Its roots may grow old in the ground
and its stump die in the soil,
yet at the scent of water it will bud
    and put forth shoots like a plant. 
Job 14: 7-9

I was a puddled mess when she read that. I had just written (below) that my hoper was on the fritz, and this was telling me there was hope. The imagery of the tree also resounded with me because I love trees. In fact, the second week of focused on Glory featured pictures of a magnificent tree (here) and the story of the tree (here). 

Since I was adjusting my focus, I thought I would go back to the beginning. Like I said before, trees seem to be stretching their branches out in praise. It's how I feel when I draw near to God. My arms stretch out from side to side as if I'm trying to catch God's glory as it rains down.

I still had the business card of the gentleman who was gracious enough to allow me to intrude on his day and take pictures of his tree. Once again Mr. Roberts was accommodating and told me to "come on over."

I couldn't help but smile as I pulled into the driveway. "My" tree was dressed to the nines and holding court in the pasture. It was a splendid site. I had to praise God for His masterpiece.

Mr. and Mrs. Roberts told me I was welcome anytime. Mrs. Roberts told me I could bring a picnic and eat under the tree if I wanted. What a lovely idea.

Of course Mr. Roberts took me out back again to feed the fish and see the horses. I noticed the pony was gone and he replied, "I sold it. I didn't need it." 

This is Starfire. It's the only horse Mr. Roberts has ever called by name. Starfire came close to check out what I was doing. When I turned the camera to take a picture of the other two horses he walked in front of me again.

This gate leads from the back pasture and pond back to the house. I think it is charming.
 Here are my precious hosts. They are delightful.

Father God, I thank you for your beauty and glory. Oh the love you show through your creation. Thank you for sharing.

Be sure to stop by Jennifer's BLOG to see her foG post.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

focused on Glory (barely)

I am barely getting an foG post in this week. It's been a little busy physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I hardly picked up my camera at all. The few shots I took weren't what I was wanting, and I almost gave up on this week.

I realized that I really haven't been focusing on God's glory. Maybe that explains the hopelessness that was creeping up on me. I was on the phone with my mom this week, and I told her that I think my hoper was on its last leg. It has taken a beating lately. There have been several medium to BIG things for which I had been hoping and praying. 

None of those hopes came true. It felt like I had been kicked- a few times.

In doing what she does best, my mama loved on me and encouraged me to keep hoping (and praying). Likewise, my daddy also did something very sweet for me. When I asked why he replied, "Because I love you."

So today's picture is another of my precious parents. It is from the archives, but I don't think my four readers are going to care that it wasn't taken this week. Here it is. Aren't they cute?

I am so thankful for my parents. Ours isn't a perfect relationship, but it works more often than not. That brings up another reason my heart is heavy. 

On April 23rd (Daddy's birthday) I received a text from my friend Cathy telling me that a young friend of mine from Nashville had just lost her father. It was sad news. Little did Cathy know that 10 days later she would lose her father suddenly. More heartache. On April 30th another precious friend's father had a heart attack. Tammi lost her mother a year and a half ago. Now she is sitting with her father as they wait for him to  join Miss Lois at the feet of Jesus. Today Mr. David's son Scott wrote on facebook, "We are thankful for each moment we get to spend with him. He is still teaching us." 

I adore this family. And what a testimony! If that isn't a kick start in the Glory direction I don't know what is. Mr. David Mills is a great man. His love for Christ was lived out loud. He will be missed, but I know he is excited to see the face of Jesus.

I didn't know the other two fathers, but they must have been pretty amazing to have turned out the families they did. My heart hurts for those families, but I know that they also have peace and joy in their pain.

So hope isn't gone. I've just been out of focus. I have to go now. I need to see a carpenter about getting my hoper fixed.

I hope you guys stopped by Jef's BLOG
Don't miss out on her foG post.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


It took 22 weeks, but it's has finally happened. I don't have anything for focused on Glory Tuesday. I'm completely exhausted. I'm hoping to have the post up tomorrow.

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