Good Friday or Bad?

Today, many of us celebrate what we call, Good Friday. The day Christ died on the cross with the promise of rising in three days. The day the earth shook, the sun darkened, the veil was torn, and the believers were scattered with their dreams of majesty shattered. The day the Holy Lamb of God was beaten, bruised, pierced by those who hated Him and forsaken by the very Father God who claimed to love Him.

So, if all this bad happened on this day, how can we call it Good Friday? How can we join together to celebrate such a horrific, gruesome, unimaginable death? How can anything good be taken from such a terrible day that is forever written in the annals of time?

If you don’t know Him, I can understand why you’d wonder. If you’ve never realized His love for you, I can believe your confusion and doubt. If you’ve only heard of Him in storybooks and seen Him portrayed as “just a man” in cults and Hollywood box office hits, I can comprehend your skepticism, ridicule and even rejection.

But for me, I know Him on a personal level…

He was there before I even took a breath. He was there when I was in my mother’s womb, and her guidance counselor tried to convince her to “get rid of the dilemma,” because, after all, she was just 16. He was there when I was born six weeks (8 wks to today’s standards) too early and fought for life for those 10 days in that tiny incubator.

He was there when I was six months old, and my alcoholic parents split up. He was there when my four year old self waited by the door with packed bags for a father who never showed up. He was there when my twelve year old self received a “new daddy” who took us away from a comfortable, small town to a great big city with so many unknowns.

He was there when I met the man of my dreams and said, “I do.” He was there when our first child never grew in the womb, and we buried him under those great big oaks at my childhood home. He was there when our firstborn aspirated meconium, and we were told by a young nurse that it could be fatal. He was there when our second son fell off the changing table onto a tile floor while being babysat. He was there when I lost my precious grandfather to cancer, the man who had protected me, loved me and cherished me, the man who been my “Daddy” for so many years. He was there through all of the grief and sorrow.

The stories could go on and on with so much more detail, but I won’t bore you with my life story. I can just say, with 100% confidence, He was there. In my darkest days and in my happiest hours, in my finest moments and in those times that I wish to never be repeated, He was there.

He has always been there.

So, I call it Good Friday, because I know He was there hanging on the cross pouring out His blood for me for redemption. I call it Good Friday, because I know He rose just a few days later with the promise of victory, and heaven and eternity for my soul if I just believe. I call it Good Friday, because I am a witness to all that has come from His sacrifice, His love and His grace just in my own life.

I call it Good Friday, because often times, out of the bad, the horrific, the most unimaginable things comes such beauty and goodness and promise that you can’t call it anything but GOOD!

Watch and listen…

https://youtu.be/Is6weMrenls

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What Are You Feeding?

Recently, we went to the Alligator Farm which basically borders the Everglades National Park. If you are in south Florida and have never been, or if you are going to be passing by, this is definitely worth the trip! While there, we saw all kinds of alligators of all different sizes. They had them actually “sectioned off” by “age.” They had the large ones in the ponds and marshlands of one area, the juveniles in another, and even the little hatchlings in another. Apparently, they have to do this, or the grown alligators will eat the younger ones.

This experience and knowledge caused me to ask myself a question, and I’d like to pose it to you as well, “What are you feeding most in your life?” What you feed will be the dominant source of sickness or healing for your soul. What you feed will either bring you abundant joy or overwhelming sorrow. What you feed grows and grows until it is the leading voice and commanding power in your life.

If you are feeding the positive sources, the faithful things, the good nature within, then, you will reap a harvest of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc. If you are feeding the negative sources, the unstable things, the evil nature within, then, you will reap the whirlwind of anger, greed, pride, deception, etc. It is the simple principle of reaping and sowing. It is like a seed that is planted, watered and brought to the harvest time. Your soul and thoughts are the soil, and your attitude, actions and words are the harvest.

What you feed will grow and mature into a monster that devours everything in you and around you. That “monster” can either be for good or evil. You decide everyday which it will be.

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GO!

I look at so many religions in this world and watch how they fervently make disciples of their beliefs. They go door to door. They call special meetings. They infiltrate and consume college campuses and schools, all to create more followers if their particular system. Yet, I see time and again, Christians hold back from sharing Christ’s story. They allow someone else to take the center stage of testimony. They allow the cares of this world to consume every minute of the day that the busyness chokes the Living Word right out of their lives. They allow the fear of ridicule to silence their stand. 

I know this to be true, because the same has happened in my own life. I haven’t shared this Good News as much as I should, as much as I am truly able. I fall so short in the area of “making disciples.” I often keep silent when I should just open my mouth to speak. It’s sometimes easier to “just keep to ourselves” rather than to possibly be counted with “those crazy charismatics of the cross.”

Yet, sharing His love isn’t that hard. It’s not that lengthy in time, and it’s not complicated. Just share your story. Just talk about Him. He will always show up, and He will take care of the rest. 😉

It is time to speak up! It is time to speak out!  He is a good God. He is a gracious and merciful King. He is a loving Father. He is a living Savior. He is the one true God. Let us GO and tell all the world!

Tuesday’s Treats #53

Rocco’s Pub

Location: Jasper, Ga.

 This burger joint is located in the little town of Jasper, Georgia. They have great burgers and chili. Amazingly, they also have a choice of bison and elk burgers. My husband and boys had one of these, and they loved them! I had the regular bacon cheese burger, and it was good. Shoestring fries come with your order, but for $1.00 more, you can choose from steak fries, onion rings, Tator tots, veggies and sweet potato fries (complete with marshmallow creme). We ordered all except the steak fries and veggies. The marshmallow creme was a big hit with the boys! My husband also ordered a cup of the chili, and it was incredible. The sweet tea is good ol’ southern sweet tea, and the cherry Cokes are made perfect with grenadine. 

We ordered the hot apple pie ala mode for dessert. The flavor was really good; however, the crust could have been a little crispier…it almost made me wonder if, maybe, it was made yesterday and reheated today. Evenso, I’d probably order it again hoping it might be a little better, because the taste was really good.

The atmosphere of the place is really cool. I wish I’d taken a pic of the inside; so, you could see it. They also have a large outdoor covered pavilion dining area, and apparently, they have live music karaoke  frequently.

Please note: if you order bison/elk burgers, an appetizer and a dessert, along with drinks, for a party of four, your ticket may be a little more than what you’re used to paying. It’s great food, and we will definitely be back, I just thought I’d make you aware of the pricing; so, you’re not surprised by your ticket total as I was. Of course, I’ve included a pic of the menu; so, you can take a peak at it. 😉

Here is the website, too. 😊

 

How’s That Breath of Yours?

 

Have you ever been talking to someone, and you feel like holding your breath, because theirs is so overpowering? Have you ever tried to keep your composure while the person speaking to you is breathing an aura of STANK all around your head? Oh! It can be downright suffocating, can’t it? You just want to put a clothespin over your nose, a mask over your face, or even just hand a piece of gum to the person as a great big sign that says, “Please! Go brush your teeth!”

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Did you know, HOW we talk can provide this same type of atmosphere? Our words can create an air of pleasantry or putrid disgust around the person to whom we are speaking. It is all in what we talk about. If our talk is of positive things, the atmosphere we create will be like a breath of fresh air, a mint filled aroma or even bubble gum popping fun. However, if our conversation is filled with negativity, gossip or the tearing down of another, it can be as if we just bit into an onion, forgot to floss for a year or even had a mouth full of rotten garbage. Nobody wants to smell that mess!

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Let our words be pleasant. Let our speech be charming and cheerful. Let our conversations fill the air with a beautiful aroma, one of which everyone will desire to be a part. There’s actually some truth in momma’s old adage, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!” 😉

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Tuesday’s Treats #51

Maggie’s Galley

Location: Waynesville, NC

This is a great little seafood restaurant in Waynesville, NC. Who would have thought it? The atmosphere is completely nautical. The staff is friendly, and the place is clean. It is locally owned, and they seem to really care about their customers. 

Now, I have to throw out a little disclaimer here. If you haven’t read my story, you may not know I am originally from the Gulf Coast; so, my opinion of seafood can be a little picky when I’m inland, but this place is pretty good for not being on the coast. If I were on the coast, it definitely wouldn’t be my first pick; however, when you’re inland, it is what it is. They have a good variety, and everything we’ve had tastes pretty fresh.  

The onion petals were a nice start. My husband got the steak, and he loved it. My son got the fish and chips, and it was so so. He didn’t really care for it, as it seemed to be more like catfish. My grandmother got the special of the day (above pic), but I am sorry, I don’t remember what it was. It’s been a little while since our visit, and I forgot to write it down. It was a grilled fish with a creamy, almost hollandaise type, sauce. The sauce was a little heavy, but it was tasty. I ordered the High Country Shrimp over blackened grit cakes. The dish had a good flavor, but it was so soupy. The hush puppies are yummy, and the cheesecake is divine! 

You’ll have to check this place out for yourself, but I’ve added some pics for you to see. You can check out their menu here, too.  

Tuesday’s Treats #46

Pack’s Tavern

Location: Asheville, NC

This restaurant is super cool, and it’s nestled in the heart of Asheville, right next to the Police Department. The atmosphere is great as is the staff. The place has a lot of character, and there are nights they have live music, too. The food is incredible, and the cheesy bread appetizer is a must!

They have a great variety on the menu, including salads, sandwiches, burgers bison meatloaf and shrimp and grits. We ordered bison burgers, fries and the shrimp and grits. I’m sorry I didn’t get any pics of the actual food. We were so hungry that I forgot once the food arrived. We really enjoyed the atmosphere and the giant windows that showed the beautiful surroundings. All the food was tasty, and the boys even got some ice cream for a yummy dessert. Honestly, the shrimp and grits weren’t my favorite, but I’ve learned when going to a burger place, and being so far inland, that’s the chance you take. It was edible; I’d give it a solid B-. The burgers are definitely great, and the cheesy bread appetizer is to die for! 😉

If you’re in the downtown Asheville area, it’s a definitely stop. I’d like to go again just to try another bite of that appetizer and one of those burgers! There looks to be a lot of yummy items on the menu, too. Here is their website for you to check out.

Tuesday’s Treats #44

The Blue Otter Restaurant & Sportsbar  

The view here is spectacular! The restaurant is located right on the side of the highway, facing Lake Chatuge. The food is really good, too. I’d have to say it wasn’t awesome, but the view made up for the lack of luster. We had burgers, wings, pizza and a buffalo chicken wrap, all served with fries, onion rings and Tator tots (you choose one)…true Sportsbar type variety.  The sweet tea was good Southern style sweet tea, and the cherry cokes were true Roy Rogers, grenadine and all. 😉

The Hiawassee burger is good with bacon, pickle slices and BBQ sauce. It comes with ranch dressing, too, but I had it omitted. The wings were yummy, and my son ordered them with hot sauce; so, they were fire producing! Haha. The pizza was more bread than pepperoni and sauce, but the taste was good. The last time we went, our party got the big “Kitchen sink” pizza, with all the toppings, and it was loaded and yummy! The chicken wrap and ranch dressing was average, not really spectacular.

The atmosphere inside is really cool, but because it was such a beautiful day, we sat outside on the deck with a gorgeous view of the lake and mountains. The waitress seemed a little distracted, which made her a little on the slower side, but she was really nice. Everything was really good, and we will be back, I’m sure.

Here is their website for location and more information. 

Tuesday’s Treats #42

Luciano’s Ristorante Italiano

Location: Lawrenceville, Ga
 This place is a little fancier than you would expect, pulling into the Kroger parking lot to find a spot. The hostess is a little pretentious, and the restaurant seems like it might be with the white tablecloths and decor, but if you can get past that, the food is pretty good. It seems to be a popular lunch spot, as it got pretty crowded today, and it is listed #5 on tripadvisor.com for the city in which it’s located.

The menu is quite limited; so, if you’re looking for an extensive, authentic Italian menu, you might want to go down the road to Carrabba’s. I ordered off of the daily specials menu, because for the price of a simple entree, I could choose the  “3 course entrees.” You get the choice of soup or salad, an entree and a dessert for $12.95.

I had a Caesar salad, pizza mafia (pepperoni, sausage, bacon, black olives) and tiramisu. My husband ordered a Chicken Caesar, and our youngest got the kids pepperoni pizza. Everything was delicious, but the tiramisu was just ok. It seemed more custard/pudding based and was served in this tiny ramekin (like 1-2oz. size!); so, I was a little disappointed at that point.

The bread that is served before the meal is accompanied by this brouchetta-eske sauce with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. Yum! …and I’m not even a tomato fan. The sweet tea is really good; however, as the entrees came, our glasses were changed from these really cool, large glasses to these rather small glasses. So, we had to keep asking for refills. I thought that a little odd. Shouldn’t the larger glasses be served with the meal?

Anyway, the food was good, and we might drop back by sometime…if we’re in this parking lot at lunchtime, but I don’t think we will make a special trip. The regular menu prices seemed a little steep for lunch, and they don’t seem to have a wide variety of choices. However, my opinion may be a little skewed by our personal experience, because once our entrees were served, we didn’t see our waitress again for about 20+mins. (Time enough for us to finish, sit waiting, and my husband and son to “give up” and head for the car.) She finally arrived back in the room, put her apron back on behind the bar and came over to the table to ask me if she should box up the leftover pizza.

That’s when my tiny dessert was served by another waiter. She never seemed the slightest concerned about her absence, even when I graciously mentioned we had to hurry now, because we didn’t know it was going to take so long. Yeah, those moments of frustration, and the disappointment in the dessert,  may have slanted my opinion a bit.

Despite this, I chose to blog this “treat,” because of the TA rating, the amount of traffic they received during the lunch hour, and the food was rather tasty. Maybe we just got a bad waitress, and it’s usually better. Maybe we need to try it for a date night, too… maybe…

Check out their website here.

Tuesday’s Treats #27

Austin’s Cattle Co.

Location: Valdosta, Ga.

This place is a hidden gem in Valdosta. You wouldn’t quite expect the quality, as its location is unassuming and connected to a motel, and usually motel restaurants are, at best, hit and miss. Well, this is a “bullseye hit!”

It seems to be locally owned and cared for by people who care about quality as well as service. It’s hard to tell from appearances, if the owners own the motel, or they may not be affiliated at all with the motel; however, it is evident the restaurant is of top priority. From the front door to the tables to the food, everything is extremely clean and treated with “A+ quality.”

The steaks were cooked to perfection and seemed to melt in your mouth, and the veggies were cooked exactly as they should be, not squishy and soggy, and the taste was scrumptious! The menu is quite extensive with choices not only of steak but chicken, salads, burgers, etc. Our waiter was delightful and helpful with the menu, and she was quick to keep our drinks refilled and assist in any way she could.

If you’re in the Valdosta area, and you want an incredible steak, this is the place to eat! Check out their website here.