Down by the Pond

We have three little friends that live down by the pond. They haven’t been in the neighborhood very long and are quite the trio. I’ve yet to see one without the other two. They seem to have settled in quite nicely over the last few months. They aren’t from this area and are transplants to the pond life. Funny, but even after only having these neighbors for a short time, I look for them everyday. Their names are Sunny, Pete, and Sully. They are as different as can be and yet are the best of friends and are quite the superstars around here.

We have lots of unwanted neighbors in the woods and around the pond. I’m often concerned the unsavory types will get after our friends. Between predators and the weather, we worry. It was especially concerning this past week when the tropical storm came through as remnants of Hurricane Irma barreled through the state. As the rains and winds picked up, I couldn’t help but think of our friends down by the pond. We were lucky to have no damage to our home but how did the pond guys fare? Did they hunker down under a bush? Do they float around on the pond staying clear of falling trees? How do they keep from being separated; they aren’t very big and the wind was gusting. I guess the good Lord has all of this figured out…nature is His thing, after all.

Once the weather calmed down and the trees stopped bending in half, it was safe to venture out. Thankfully, our little friends were shaking off the nastiness of ol’ Irma and happily paddling around looking for breakfast. We surely do like our little friends. We’re glad they moved in.

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A Post – Lost

Ugh! After working on my “writing” commitment for about an hour, the entire post disappeared when I tried to add a picture! Good grief!

Being out of practice affects more than putting words on to a page. Remembering how to use this blog world is also a challenge. Goodness, I don’t know if I even have the thoughts or energy to redo the post.

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Thoughts for pondering…

I have the best intentions and thoughts for blog posts at the most inopportune times, driving down the road, grocery shopping, during boring meetings, etc. I need a plan for how to catalog those ideas when I can’t write or type. Hmmm…something else to ponder…

Things that make me think:

-What exactly are my bucket-list items? Must I have a bucket-list? I have places I’d like to visit and things I’d like to do but nothing monumental enough to qualify as a bucket-list, at least not in comparison to other lists I’ve heard mentioned.

-My views and beliefs on life choices today versus previous years and why my thoughts have changed or remained the same. (This post might not be so fun to write or think about…may not tackle this anytime soon.)

-Grocery shopping and how badly I would like a change in this inefficient process.

-Family members may no longer be here with us but God sends angels to cross our paths and fill our needs in love.

-Friendship circles and/vs. needs at seasons in our lives.

-Acceptance and forgiveness

-I need fresh air and sunshine – why?

-Helping/Serving others – Expected? Need? Want? Responsibility?

-I really don’t like house-cleaning but I really like to cook.

-Mid-life and a need to exercise. Ugh!

-When you realize your husband really is your best friend. 😉

-Life after work.

-I wish I could decorate my house but mostly I just want it to be clean and organized.

-Devotions/Bible readings and study – how the Lord is speaking to me at any given time.

Hoping to spend some time each day in thought about boring daily life as well as musing and wonderings as they occur to me. I look back over the past years of posts and relish the memories.

 

 

Blink – and she turns 17!

It was 6,210 days ago. That’s 4,436 weekdays and 1,774 weekend days…or 887 weeks and one day ago. “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” by J.K. Rowling was a best-selling book. Bill Clinton was the US President and Don Siegelman was Alabama’s governor.

Gas prices in Alabama were at a high of $1.19 per gallon and the famous Blackberry was first introduced.

For us, it was a little more special and personal. For our family, it was a beautiful new day. Monday morning around 9am at Russell Medical Center a precious miracle came into this world.  Joining a family of four, she was to be called “Morgan” and was greatly anticipated by a brother and sister. Just before she made her entrance, her identity changed to Sara Elizabeth and she’s been a perfect Sara Beth, Bess, Bessie, Lulu ever since.

Sweet Bess, your heart for others and desire to serve the Lord has changed our lives and will forever impact this world. Your laughter and loving personality creates a spirit of joy in our family. I pray you always and forever seek God, find the good in humanity, love others, and challenge those around you to do the same. Happy 17th Birthday sweet girl! You are loved more than you could possibly understand.

Why We Do What We Do

Why We Do What We Do…

We are rolling into Kentucky this morning, watching LiveStream, and listening to our Pastor preach his first sermon. So perfectly penned for us as we ask ourselves, especially today, “why DO we DO what we DO?” Why am I here, really? Why do teams of people ever agree to mission, whether it at home, in another state, another country? What exactly are we trying to do? What call are we answering?

I personally and truly believe we are called and anointed to spread the love that Jesus shares with each of us. We prepare our hearts daily for any moment presented to us by our Lord to share the good news we have through and because of him. Specifically this week, 39 servants are looking for ways to reach out and share the glory and good we’ve found in our Savior. We feel it. We know it. We want others to know it…it’s WHY we do what we do!

Find a way today to answer the call Jesus has placed on your life. He’s called; are you listening?

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Bowling and Bonding

An Outback dinner and night of bowling binds us together just a little tighter. After waiting a minute or two, 38 of us found ourselves breaking bread with old friends and some brand new ones. Funny how laughter over a blooming onion can break the ice for new friendships.

FINALLY, FINALLY – after dinner we gather around to hear our teams for the week. For previous ASP teams, you know how exciting this is. Some may worry over this but every single year, God has empowered Jimmy and Barbara to put together just the right people to work together to spread God’s love. Maybe there was a year or two that I fretted a little but quickly have learned, it’s always exactly as it should be. Jimmy and Barbara no doubt spend time praying over these teams and listening for God’s word. You simply can’t go wrong when allowing our good Lord to lead.

Ok – so, about the time we arrived at our little Red Roof yesterday, I received a text from long-time ASP team favorite family. Our beloved Fox family, for the first time, in many, many years isn’t here with us. My sweet, Margot, set my mind spinning back over the last seven years and all of the fun and love that’s been shared with so many giving hearts. So, to you:

Jim Bain – I’ll be wary and extra careful if I have to get under a house, looking for creatures that growl and those that fly. Moreso, I’ll be double-checking a leader that leads me to a place with growling and flying creatures…and then LAUGHS uncontrollably as I try to escape!

Greg, Margot, Abby, and Maggie – it’s terribly strange without at least one Fox here. Greg, in my seven years here, I think we shared a team for four years. You were on my first team and I’ll never, ever, in my life forget what God taught me in that week. Abby and Maggie…it’s terribly odd to think one of you won’t be crawling into your mom’s bunk at the center. Both of you over the last seven years, at some point during the week, always come visit us, as your mom is generally my next door bunk mate. Love to each of you Fox’s! I miss you already!

To bunk buddies that don’t know when to go to bed: Margot Fox, Laurie Sturdivant, Alice Parmer, Debbie Bain, Wendy Pritchard…I still don’t know where some of those emojis came from. I’ll have to share a late night text with Barbara, Catie, Penny, and Heather and hope they find as much enjoyment.

My special “distubavant” boys, Sam & Scott, and Matthew…your absence is already obvious. You’ve set a standard and created memories the younger kids are already re-telling and hoping to live into.

And to Mickey Sewell, Greg Blackmon, Robin Newberry, Ryley Scales, and so many, many more – your contribution to the memory bank lives on. I can’t listen to Wagon Wheel or Dirt Road without thinking about two silly high school girls living life to the fullest. Mickey, you’ve been a great leader and will be missed. Mr. Greg Blackmon, as my first group leader on ASP and in many other areas of my life, I miss you and your wise words.

Finally, our fearless leader Jimmy isn’t with us this year. I think we’re about 22 hours into this experience and you are missed and yet what you’ve created with Barbara is alive and strong. We’re committed to continuing what you’ve taught us. As we sang “Sanctuary” last night, I could hear your voice. We never know when our last trip will be but I don’t think I can end my tenure until you’re back on this mission with us!

Love to all! Time to head to the Waffle House!

Another Blessed Week Just Ahead

Seven months, it’s been seven months since I pulled up my blog to jot down a few thoughts. Interesting…

It’s ASP (Appalachia Service Project) time!

As the tools are counted and packed, clothes boxes (really large boxes) are barely able to close, excitement mounts. It happens every year. We know the day is coming; somedays we even dread it and yet, here we are again. In all the unknowns about our mission, one thing beyond all else is certain, God has already prepared the way. Isn’t this always true?

Thirty eight (or 39, the number keeps changing) willing and giving souls will find a seat on a comfy church van and drive about eight hours to spend the week with people we don’t know, doing work we are less than skilled to do, and loving each other and strangers more than we would here at home. We take with us a church family and community that chose to pray and offer financial support – we all go on this journey together.

We will miss so many former team members that aren’t with us this year. Life happens and seasons change. To those that can’t go, all that you’ve done before has helped prepare the way. We know you will be with us in prayer and spirit.

Hazard, Kentucky… Cordia School in Lotts Creek – we’re coming!

A little pleasure reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazard,_Kentucky

Happy Birthday Bess!

It’s your birthday our Bess! And, it’s a big birthday – 16 years old today! It’s so cliche to say, “It’s hard to believe your already 16,” but truly it doesn’t seem possible. Sixteen years ago this morning around 9am, you made your debut into this world and made it a brighter, more special place to live.

We are so incredibly proud of the young lady you’ve become. Your future is promising because of your inner strength, talent, drive, and passion. Turning sixteen is a pivotal birthday as you’ll take the next step toward independence. Car keys symbolize so much more than a means to start an engine. You’ll drive out of the driveway and take on the world. I pray you are ready, my girl. I pray God will cover you in a security hug of safety, love, and protection. Have a happy, happy birthday and know you are loved beyond measure!

Leaving the Nest

As it always seems, we’ve taken the days together for granted. The sleepy morning hugs (and grunts), time curled up on the couch, quiet time just sitting, finding you asleep most anywhere, long talks, dinner prep and new recipes, silly laughter, your never ending helpful spirit, hearing your shower each morning, listening for “Mom, I’m home” as you come in at night, watching you pray in church, seeing you hold your Bible in your hands, the very essence of you…changes drastically in a mere 24 hours. The day you’ve waited for and counted off the calendar arrives all too quickly for me tomorrow morning. We will pack the trailer with “you”. Your treasured belongings and other junk will leave here never to fully return. Being the second child to leave our warm little nest, I know you’ll be home, sometimes for long periods, but as it should be, it will never be the same. We have worked your entire lifetime for this lift-off. It terrifies me that I must help push you out in to this world, a place full of unknowns and people we don’t know. Thankfully, we have the assurance that even when dad and I can’t be there with you, our precious Lord will walk every step of every day alongside you.

I’ve tried to think of prophetic words to offer that will ring as a special way to close this chapter and turn the page to the next adventure. The words don’t come…very simply, I don’t want this chapter to close yet. You have been my little shadow since you arrived in January, 1997. Your orbit has never been far from home so it’s difficult to think about these next few weeks as we all adjust to your absence.

You, however, are going to know and live the excitement of all you’ve dreamed college would be. There aren’t many periods in my life I’d choose to go back to but college is certainly one! Oh the things you will learn in your classes and outside those walls. Your very circle of life is about to explode with new friends, adventures, quandaries to ponder, late nights, early mornings, problems to tackle, household adjustments…truly a remarkable time of growth is to come.

My precious girl, no matter where you are in this world, you are and will always be my heart. There is no distance nor time that will change our ever entangled spirits. You have been my sunshine and I’m excited to watch you fly high as you leave me tomorrow. Know that your place in our little nest will always be here for you to land in when needed. We love you sunshine baby.

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