What Do You Celebrate?

At the beginning of this month, we celebrated the Fourth of July with some of our family, and the fireworks display at the end of the night was the perfect ending to a perfect day. It was absolutely beautiful!

We all celebrate things, people and happenings in our lives. We celebrate holidays, birthdays and new beginnings. We celebrate new babies, marriages, graduations and retirements, but I wonder how often we stop and actually ponder those celebrations. I wonder if we actually think about who and what we are celebrating. 

Do we see the person or just simply the event in their life? Do we recognize the growth in the graduate, or do we only see the loss of a child at home? Do we see the joy in the eyes of the new mom and her baby, or do we only see the birth? Do we see the wealth of wisdom in the retiree, or do we only see the age and tired body?

As I was going back through those pictures of the fireworks and reminiscing the day, I smiled as I thought of our family and the celebration. It wasn’t simply a day to celebrate a patriotic holiday and a few beautiful fireworks. We joined together to celebrate the strength of family, the joy of togetherness, and the gratefulness we have to live in this country of the free and the brave. 


Yeah, now THAT’S a celebration. ๐Ÿ˜‰โค๏ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

Friday’s Friends #24


Hello there! I’m sorry to be a little late on this Friday to share the weekly Friday’s Friends, and I do hope you won’t mind!

Today, I’d like to share a sweet and encouraging blog I’ve just recently found. Amy’s Brew is thought provoking and inspiring. I do hope you’ll jump over and check it out. I believe you’ll find a lot of grace, hope and love in your destination. ๐Ÿ˜Š

What Do You See?

Recently, I had lunch at the Swan Coach House in Buckhead, Georgia. If you want to see the Old  Southern Belle style of Old Atlanta, this is your place! It is rich in history and character. 

Behind this restaurant is the original Swan House (mansion) steeped  in even more history and character.  It was amazing to see the richness of decor, even to the detailed carvings above the door frames entering the library study. It seems this family spared no expense, lavishing the halls with beautiful furnishings of the time and even building out the master closet wth marble and huge vanities and closets. The gardens, lush and magnificent, capturing the attention of Hollywood with the filming of The Mocking Jay and various weddings of the area. It was simply breathtaking. 


Yet, as we traveled up the four flights of stairs to the very top floor of the house, we entered two rooms which were very plain and practical with no decorations or fanfare. It became apparent this was the former slave quarter and the ironing/folding/cleaning room. The slave’s room was said to be very close to what the actual room had been like. There was a bed with a simple quilt, a dresser with a few essentials, including a handwritten note on “How to prepare a perfect evening (bed) turndown,”  a little side table with a fan, and a rocking chair by the window. 


In comparison to the rest of the mansion, this room was so unattractive, it shouldn’t have made much, if any, impact. However, as I walked over to the gigantic, porthole-like window, I was struck in awe of the beautiful view. It looked out over the magnificent gardens below, and I began to imagine what it might be like to live as the slave within this home. 


The work would probably be unimaginably difficult, taking care of all the household chores, caring for the children (the children’s room was just down the hall), taking those four flights of stairs everyday to go to and from the various duties throughout the home. Oh, but that view kept drawing me in. It was simply breathtaking. 

I could imagine sitting by the window at night, gazing up at the full moon that might shine through. I thought of the early rising sun, chasing away the dark of night, the dew glistening in the gardens below. The work of the day ahead shadowed just a bit by the beauty which greets you in the morning light. 

In this life, we will have trials. We will have tough times, hard work and difficult obstacles which will threaten to overwhelm us. Yet, we must push through to survive. We must set our sights on the important things, and our perspective must be in the right place to not only survive but to thrive

What do you see before you? Do you see pain? Do you see difficulties and turmoil? Do you see brokenness and despair?

Or do you see an opening to life, a porthole of hope, a window of beauty that will sustain you through the storm?

Just In Case You Wondered

God is Big. I mean REALLY Big. He doesn’t slumber, or grow tired, or even grow weary. He understands where you are, because He is understanding. He can wisely guide you, because He is wisdom. He will give you strength for weariness, because He is strength.  He will give you power for weakness, because He is All Power. He will show you mercy and grace, because He is so gracious and kind. He will give you love, because He is love. He is the Creator of all things and the Creator of you very soul. 

He’s the only One, True God, and He’s absolutely crazy about YOU! If you don’t know Him today, just check Him out. Just say His Name, “Jesus.” … You might just be surprised at what, or Who, you find. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Friday’s Friends #23

Today is Friday, and it’s my favorites day of blogging, because I get to share with you a new “friend!” My sincerest apologies for missing last week! I didn’t realize there was no posting until it was way too late to post. ๐Ÿ™„

Twittersanonymous is an inspiring blog that’s been around for quite a while, but I do hope you’ll jump over and check it out. She has encouraging words and kindness flowing throughout. I believe you will leave there feeling refreshed and inspired. ๐Ÿ˜Š

I Survived!


Well, my phone acted like a fish this last Monday evening. We had had a wonderful evening with friends, out on the lake, watching the sunset, docking at a great restaurant to enjoy a delicious meal, and we were headed back into the marina to call it a night. The sun had set, and the sky just had the last few remnants of the beautiful color and light. I decided I needed one more picture to add to the beautiful collection I had gathered throughout the evening. I aimed and attempted to click the button. 

All of a sudden, the phone literally flipped out of my hand, bounced on the seat, flipped once more and splashed ever so slightly into the lake. I promise you, had it been a fish, it wouldn’t have surprised me, because it seemed desperate to reach that water! Had it not been so shocking and annoying to lose all that information and photos in an instance, it would have been quite comical. 

So, I’ve spent the last 3 days pretending to live back a few decades when you actually had to tell someone where you’d be and wait until your arrive at the given place to actually talk to someone. I’ve spent the last 60+ hours using my Mac to do a little texting communication and to check FB and to blog. It’s been an interesting week, and I can say, I survived! ๐Ÿ˜‚ For those of you who think you can’t live without that little handheld black box of communication, you might want to try it…maybe not by dropping your phone in the lake, but maybe by allowing it to sit alone by itself for a few hours in a day. I stand as a witness, it can be done. ๐Ÿ˜‰

It actually was nice to not have the pressure of answering phone calls, checking for text messages and following up with Messenger messages. It was nice to be able to tell my family exactly where and when I was going to be somewhere and allow my boys to depend solely on their father while we were a part. It was nice to have hours on end of quiet and focus without the distraction of the phone. Actually, this separation from my phone happens more often than you might think, but the presence of it was always near, and to not have it there was both enlightening and strengthening. ๐Ÿ˜Š

If I’m being honest, I’d have to confess, it was not so nice, however, to not have my calendar to keep up with appointments and to wonder if my sweet memories held in photographs might be returned. It was, also, not so nice to not have the convenience of google when I needed it at my fingertips to look up bits of information. Yet, it was doable, and everything in the world didn’t fall apart due to a simple phone loss. Yeah…

Oh, and my almost 16 year old son was sweet enough to allow me to “hold” his phone for a few hours while I drove to and from Atlanta one day this week. That was both surprising and refreshing. Miracles do happen. Imagine that! ๐Ÿ˜‚

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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Know When to Seek Refuge from the Storm

Yesterday, my husband and I were out on the lake in a sailboat. It’s not a huge sailboat, just a 22 Catalina, but it is a perfect one for us, as we haven’t ever really sailed before this one. Joey has pretty much taught himself, and he does a pretty good job. I love sailing across the waters with him. It’s our little world of solitude from the mundane and the chaos this life can sometimes bring.

It had been an absolute beautiful day. The winds were gently blowing. The waters were smooth and peaceful, and the sky was absolutely breathtaking at sunset. We were definitely “maximizing ย our goof off time!” It was so much fun!

Yet, about 15-20 minutes after the sun had set, and the sky was still saying goodbye to that great big amazing ball of fire, a storm front came up without much warning. The sky turned an ugly shade of gray and the wind picked up, threatening to turn gusty at any moment. In the distance, we could see a couple of fronts on top of each other, and the lightening was striking all over. We were pretty sure the worst of the storm was skirting around us; however, the bottom front was arched right above our heads and closing in fast. In a little 22′ sailboat is not exactly where you want to be found as a thunderstorm blows through!

Joey started the motor, had me take the tiller and motor wand in hand as he lowered the sails and battened down the hatches. He worked with incredible speed and skill. I watched in amazement as I kept looking to the skies and praying under my breath that we’d make it back to the dock in time.

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Thankfully, we made it back and docked just in time, walking off the boat, up the ramp, and closing our car doors just as the first raindrops began to fall. As I drove away from the marina and toward the safety of my home, I was reminded of how big our God is. I was reminded how good our God is, and I was reminded of how often He is a shelter from any storm we might encounter. We just have to remember when and where to seek shelter! Had Joey decided he wasn’t going to get out of that storm as quickly as he did, or had he decided to just linger a little while longer, trusting his own abilities a little too much, we could have surely been in some trouble.

Life will always have storms that blow in, and sometimes, with absolutely no warning. You may be right at the verge, but you’ve just got to know when to get out of the storm that’s brewing. You may even be caught in the onset of that storm; however, our God has always provided a refuge and a shelter to which you can run. You’ve just got to make the decision to run early. He will protect you, and He will uphold you regardless of the thunder that rolls and the lightening that may flash.

You can trust Him. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Back In the Saddle!

 

 

Ok, so my deepest apologies go out to those of you out there who might follow this blog rather frequently and who might have wondered for a bit why I’ve been so lax over the last month… There might not be too many of you, but I know there’s some, because we’ve kind of formed “friendships” along the way. So, I felt like I should take a minute to tell you that your attentiveness and caring to this little blog space, in the vast and vague world of blogging, hasn’t gone unnoticed. I appreciate you, and I thank you for your kindness and patience in my “lag time.” โค

June just kind of came and went in a whirlwind, and I found myself covered up with our boys’ summer plans of constant activity and busyness. I also found myself in a lot of reflective moments but not a lot of moments where I wanted to write and share what was going on in my heart and mind. It was almost like I was in those last few minutes after a surgery, where the anesthesia is wearing off, and you hear and feel things; yet, you’re still too groggy to make sense of any of it, and you can’t speak or see to really share it with anyone anyway.

So, all that to say…I’M BACK! I have so many things to share with you; so, it’s time to start inking up the pages! ๐Ÿ˜‰ … I hope you’re ready for a great adventure ahead!

PS. I hope you’re having an AMAZING summer, and I hope, maybe, you will share your summer stories with me, too! โค

Friday’s Friends #21

Friday’s are AWESOME, because I get to share a new “friend” whom I’ve found along this blogging journey! This is such a fun moment, and I hope you enjoy it, too! 

Today, I’d like to share with you a new blog that is full of encouragement and strength. Grip and Grace has been developed to give you a place to go and find other blogs of things you love. There are blogs about music, events, inspirational quotes, etc. You just go on, click the area of interests and a whole new field of choice opens up! It’s great! ๐Ÿ˜Š I hope you’ll check it out!