He Is Risen

The above picture is the altar of my church this Easter morning, and I have to say the beauty of it took my breath away.

Easter should, and does, do that for those of us celebrating its  true meaning. It isn’t about a bunny and eggs or treats, it’s about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

God incarnate, Immanuel (God with us) came to earth to save us from our sins and show us humans how to live and how to serve God. Jesus was fully God and fully human.

He was tempted as we are. He showed us how to overcome temptation.

He taught us how to live.

Matthew 22:36-40 (New Living Translation) reads: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Our minister this morning called us Easter people, and that resonated so much with me.

Let’s embrace the verses above, and all the teachings of Jesus, and let us as Easter people be the hands and feet of God on this earth.

Happy Easter!

See you next time…

 

The Hills We Crest, The Hills We Crest

As I was driving to my mom’s house to help my sisters clean it out to sell, I crested the hill on I-20E that brings the Atlanta skyline into view.

It always takes my breath away, and makes me proud to live in the Atlanta area. It is especially beautiful first thing in the morning before the sun rises, and late in the evening after the sun has set.

The thought occurred to me as I crested it on this day, that there are numerous hills we crest every day.  Some are real hills like the one on I-20, and others are the metaphorical hills of our life story.

Some take our breath away because of their beauty, and others take our breath away because of the depths of sadness or anger they bring.

Just as we can’t stop in the middle of I-20 and refuse to crest that hill, we can’t stop cresting the hills on our life’s journey. We have to learn how to best navigate them.

Whatever emotion a hill brings us must be felt and acknowledged as we are honest with ourselves. We must also understand we can’t stay on that hill. Just as on a road we crest the hill and then we descend to our destination, so it is with life.

There are many other hills in life – family drama hill, selling our parents’ home hill, illness hill, loss of job hill, money issue hill, death of loved one hill, moving to a new city hill, starting at a new school hill, got a new job hill – and so many more

How we respond to the hills of our lives will determine our life’s journey. We can’t control the hills, but we CAN control our reactions to the hills.

Placing our hands in God’s hands and allowing Him to pull us up, over, around, down, and possibly through the hills of life will surely make our journey better.

See you next time,

I did not take the above picture, as the Georgia Highway Patrol frowns on us stopping in the middle of the road to take a picture lol.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunset on 2023…

The above picture was taken by me off the coast of St. Thomas this past December. Matthew and I took a much needed vacation, and it gave us both time to relax,  reflect, and renew.

As the sun set on 2023, and 2024 rolled in, I began to take a really close look at my life. 2023 had brought my 70th trip around the sun, and for some reason I’d been in a funk for months. I knew I’d “let myself go” for quite awhile, and all my attempts to get things back on track had failed.

New Year’s Day 2024 started as most days in my life with my morning devotion, and time with  God. As I wrote in my journal that morning, and spoke with God, He and I made a plan for my life. I wrote down my goals for 2024, and I committed them to Him, and prayed over them that morning.

One of my goals was to be healthier in 2024, and with the help of my oldest granddaughter, I’m doing that. She created a workout plan for me using the equipment Matthew and I have collected over the years. I workout five days a week. The other two days are “rest” days, but I still either walk, do yoga, or some other form of low impact activity, because I know I need to. The fact that my granddaughter took the time and trouble to develop a plan for me, is the reason I know I will keep it up!

Additionally, I’m eating mindfully now, and not just munching away on junk and having second and third helpings at meals just because I can. God and I had a deep discussion on my addiction to food, and my seeming inability to control it. I was a full-blown “food-a-holic”! I turned my problem completely over to Him on New Year’s Day, and with His help I am no longer snacking in the evening nor over-eating at meals. Once I finish supper (aka dinner), I don’t eat again until the next morning – usually 12-13 hours.

Another goal I set was to blog at least once per month – so get ready to read y’all, because this will be the first of many blogs in 2024. I’ve handwritten several over the past year, but just never sat down and posted them, so I have NO EXCUSE. I never had an excuse – I just got lazy.

Publishing my memoir about growing up in Hanahan, SC, when it was a small town, is another goal for this year. So keep an eye out for that! I’ll also start serious work on the novel that’s been cooking in my brain for several years.

Last, and by no means least, I’m having deeper conversations with God, and diving deeper into the Word this year.

If I can get my act together, then anyone can. God is ALWAYS with us, and He is willing and able to help us do whatever it is that we need and want to do. Just ask Him.

See you next time,

 

 

Only Trust Him

Above is a copy of the hymn that was the invitation hymn at Log Cabin Baptist Church on October 4, 1959, when at age six I walked the aisle and made my public profession of faith.

Some people said I was too young, and that my parents should not have let me do that. They said “she doesn’t understand everything.” Well, I’m 70 now, and I STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING!

I think that is what makes the hymn that was playing at the time so special. Only Trust Him references NOTHING about understanding everything – it’s all about TRUST.

The only thing I had to understand, was that Jesus Christ died for my sins, and in doing so cleansed me and saved my soul. At age six I understood the words of John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (New International Version)

As I grew in my faith over these past 69-1/2 years, I understand more of what it means to be a Jesus follower, and my faith journey has been the most important aspect of my life.

Without God I am nothing. Without God I have no rudder. Without God I have no anchor. Without God I have no direction.

Do I know everything?  No. I’m still  learning. I will NEVER know everything this side of Heaven, but I know WHO I need to know and that is Jesus Christ!

I trust HIM and His WORD. I read the Scripture and I talk to Him daily. I confess my sins of omission and commission. I try to walk closer to Him.

I try to do unto others as I want them to do to me. I try to be aware of the needs of those around me, as well as those abroad, and I try to help meet those needs. I try to live a life that is an example of the life Jesus Himself led, so others might meet Him through me. I try to be the hands and feet of Jesus on this earth.

I don’t always succeed in my efforts. I fall short continually. I will never be perfect. I will never not sin. But I will always only trust Him, for now and for forever, and that is enough.

I challenge each of you to only trust Himand I promise your life and those with whom you interact will be all the better for it.

See you next time,

The Hand Basket

Why can’t we just get along?

I’m currently reading Polarized, an amazing book that explores the critical divisions now facing our country. One author is a retired minister and the other is an atheist. They have been best friends since childhood, and they both hold doctorates in their respective fields.

Their hearts are broken because of the awful divisions in our country. I am also heart broken, and have been for several years.

A few of my previous blogs have touched on this subject, and since I continue to have deep feelings about the division, I continue to write in the hopes my words can make a difference. I’m still searching for a way to be part of the solution.

In order to be part of the solution, one must know what the problem/or problems is/are. As I’ve been reading Polarized, I’ve realized one of the main problems is we as a country have lost our ability to be civil.

When I say “we”, I mean the leaders we have elected to lead our nation. The people we voted into office have failed as a collective group to guide us in the direction we should go. Sadly, “we” also means us as we get caught up in their fight, and are not civil to those in our circles who have opinions that differ from  ours.

Instead of leading the UNITED States of America, our Congress continue to demonize one another along party lines, and push their own  agendas without even trying to hear the other side.

All one has to do is listen to or watch the past several States of the Union addresses to know that is the true picture of our Congress.

Had I been the President, this is what I would have said:

The State of the Union is that we are going to hell in a hand basket. Anyone in this room wanting to truly sit down and figure out TOGETHER how to turn this hand basket around, stay in your seats. I’m ordering Door Dash on my dime, and we’re going to break bread together and make a plan. To the citizens of the United States watching this address, have a good evening, and know that those of us who choose to stay love our country and we love you. We WILL make a plan! Good night and God bless.

Then the cameras would have been removed, the food requests taken and ordered, and we as the people you voted into office would have come up with a plan.

You may say, or think, I’m naive, and maybe I am. However, I still believe the majority of people in our country are good. If we can find our way back to civility, we as THE PEOPLE can turn this hand basket around.

We can decry the words of the extremists on both sides of the aisle in Congress, and WE THE PEOPLE can and will become the PEOPLE WHO MAKE DIFFERENCE.

It’s like a song I used to sing in youth choir. The words were: It only takes a spark to get a fire going.

Let’s be the spark, y’all.

See you next time,

Be Content, Be Happy, Enjoy Life

The above photo is our dog, Penny, sunning herself in our backyard. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with my title, but it does. She’s content, she’s happy, she’s enjoying life.

We’re not promised tomorrow. We’re not promised do overs.

Time spent worrying about what we don’t have, or arguing with those with whom we disagree, or envying those who seem to have more than we do, is time spent wasting our lives.

The holiday season will be extremely sad for those who will be experiencing a “first” without their partner, without their mom, without their dad, without their sibling, without their friend or other family members with whom they were close.

Each of us at one time or another, has walked that awful road.

Many of us have regrets for things said or done, or things unsaid and not done, until it was to late too make it right or too late to do whatever we should have.

Yes, I’m in a melancholy mood as I write this today. I have regrets.

The key to not having those regrets is to live each day as if it’s our last. To make sure the people we love KNOW we love them. To treat others as we want to be treated.

Life is short. Make the most of yours. Follow your heart. Chase your dreams. Be content. Be happy. Enjoy life.

See you next time,