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?

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! 😂 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. 😉

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. 😊

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! 😂

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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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.” ❤

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! 😉 … 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! ❤

Happy Father’s Day to You!

As I sat there preparing for Father’s Day weekend and enjoying a great lunch with my little family, we received a text from a precious friend who is about to say goodbye to the love of her life who has fought valiantly in his battle with cancer. Just an hour prior, I was speaking to a mom who tragically lost her husband last fall and listened while she shared her heart of the struggle, challenges and faith to which she clings. My mind thinks of so many more who will shed tears instead of celebrating this Father’s Day…

We are never guaranteed tomorrow. We are not even promised our next breath. Cherish the moments you have. Make the encounters account for more than just whispers on the wind…

Almost fifteen years ago, I said goodbye to the one man whom I loved as a Dad. He was my grandfather, but he was with me every step of the way. No one will ever be able to take his place in my heart. I miss him to this day, and I will always cherish the memories we made. 


After 40+ years of brokenness, my biological dad and I have a reconciled relationship of acquaintances being built. It will never become what it should have been, and even though, my heart still aches for the little girl who had dreams for what could have been, I appreciate the reality of what is. My soul breathes a little deeper with the hope we now have. 


Thirty-two years ago, a man walked into my life and became a father he’d never had the chance to be. To many, a stepdad is just a man, one who lives in the house, pays the bills and sets the rules. This man came in and became a father. He had his own mistakes, and I had mine. We kind of grew into this thing together. It might not be the best father-daughter scenario, nor one of perfection, but it is one of love. For that, I am grateful. 


No matter where you find yourself today, whether you are in your Daddy’s arms, or at the graveside, saying goodbye one more time, or saying hello to a new relationship, or trying to figure out what to do with all the pain and sorrow of those yesteryears, there is One who will be there for you always. Place your heart in His hands, for, He will carry you through, and He will never leave you. ❤️

Looking For A Sign

Read this Scripture today, and even though, I’ve read it before, it seemed to come alive to me once more. “Lord, You are my portion and my cup…” He not only is what fills me, but He is the vessel which holds the filling, the portion. He is truly all we need! 

Our pastor’s sermon this morning was titled, “Surrounded by Miracles While Still Asking for a Sign.” He talked about how everything around us is a miracle. We live on this little blue marble, which circles this great big ball of fire, while a sphere of rock illuminated by that ball of fire controls and maintains our ocean tides, all hurling through space, while all surrounded by rock and death and other masses of fire. This tiny blue marble has the perfect conditions for life and oxygen, wind and rain. All the while, we have this heart beating within our chest over which we have absolutely no control, and we still sit here demanding God for a sign. We keep saying, “God, I don’t see any miracles today. I don’t see Your hand moving as it once did. I can’t see any miraculous acts declaring Your glory and power.” 

How blind are we? How wicked is our wayward heart? There are miracles all around us, we just fail to see them. Our eyes are not given to us to see. Our eyes are given to us to look through. We must allow Him to give us the right perspective. We must allow Him to cause our eyes to see. 

2 Kings 6:17, shows us how the Lord does this. Elisha was surrounded by the army of Arameans who were commanded by the king to kill him. Elisha’s servant saw this army and was afraid while Elisha didn’t fear. He knew God was on his side and would win the battle. Elisha prayed this prayer for his servant, ““Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:17) That’s a pretty big difference in just a moment of time. God gave him a new perspective. 

Sometimes, we must have a new perspective to see clearly. There are times in our lives when God isn’t going to answer the prayers we pray the way we believe they should be answered. There are going to be moments when things don’t make sense, and we wonder where God is and if He has forsaken us. There will be other days when we get into the mode of comparing our lives with someone else’s and wondering why God is blessing them so much, and we just seem to get the skimpy leftovers of life. 

That is when we need to remember this scripture in Psalm 16. This is when we must remember the story of Elisha and his servant. This are the very moments when we must ask God to give us the right perspective that we might see His miracle right here within our own chest.  

I pray He’d give you eyes that you might see. 💗

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Fight the Good Fight

This life will have it’s ups and downs. We will have our good days and our bad days. We will have our moments when we feel on top of the world and then the very next moment, we can feel as if our world has come crashing down around us. This is the journey called LIFE. It is what it is.

Sometimes, the lows will be in physical form, maybe a ridicule from a friend, a sickness/disease or an actual assault from an enemy. Other times, it will be an emotional conflict or a spiritual confrontation that we must face. However, the times I have found to be the most difficult are those mental battles the devil will try to wage.

He knows our weak spots, our vulnerabilities, our tender places we try to hide. You know, the ones we so eloquently maintain and cover up that they seem to no longer exist. Yes, when we are allowing Christ to be strong through us, these sensitive areas are shielded by His strength. These liabilities are covered by our shield of faith. However, sometimes, we can start listening to the enemy’s lies, accusations and doubts of our identity in Christ. This is when we lower our shield, and he takes a shot to wound us.

1 timothy 6 12

Just because we serve God, and just because we have been Christians for a long time doesn’t mean tough seasons in life never come. The truth of our faith and Christian maturity is what we do when these hard times come. When we’ve been knocked down on the canvas again, the referee is starting the count, and the crowd believes it’s over, THIS is when it all comes down to truth:  THE TRUTH OF OUR CHARACTER.

These are the moments that matter the most. Will we fight the GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH and lay hold on eternal life, or will we lay down our weapons and quit? Will we finish what we’ve started when we made the confession of our faith in the beginning, or will we walk away and give it all up? It is up to us to decide.

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What we decide will not only effect OUR outcome, but it can leave a legacy behind that affects many generations to come…

Friday’s Friends #17

Today is Friday, and this is the day I get to share a new blog with you. I always love this time, because there are so many wonderful blogs out there to be shared! These blogs have inspired me, encouraged me, or simply challenged me, and I hope for you, they’ll do the same. 😊

Joyouslyhopeful is a great blog where you’ll find encouragement and an incredible story of survival. She wrote Broken Pieces last year, and if I remember right, that’s how I found her blog. I love the picture in this post and the symbolism it gives. We are all broken pieces which make up His beautiful masterpiece. Her personal story is one of broken pieces becoming a magnificent masterpiece. 

I hope you will check out her blog today. Enjoy! 

Sometimes, You Go Back

We are constantly pushed forward. Always looking ahead. Never glancing back. Leaving it all behind. Never to return…

A few days before Mother’s Day, my husband reminded me of this old song I sang in church years ago. It’s a song about being thankful and satisfied with all the blessings we have in life. He said, “You need to download that song. It was a really good song.” Often, he has a way of rekindling the embers within my heart that I’ve let lie dormant for too long… 

On Sunday morning, this same man who knows my heart so well, made references in his sermon of what kind of person I was when he met me, of how he married me because he not only loved me, but he liked me even more, and several of the reasons why. All of these moments of reminiscence put me in the mode of deep thoughts throughout day… 

So, on the evening of Mother’s Day, you would have found me sitting on the floor of our bedroom, searching iTunes for all these old school songs from my childhood and teen years, making myself a new playlist. Now, when I say old school, I’m taking “child of the 80s” throwbacks. If you’re younger than me, you might have never heard of these. If you are of my age or older, you probably know the ones I’m talking about… 

Songs like: Steve Camp’s “Do You Feel Their Pain?” and Amy Grant’s “Father’s Eyes,” Rez Band’s “Shadows” and “Silence Screams,” 2nd Chapter of Acts’ “Which Way The Wind Blows,” and even Keith Green’s “Summer Snow.” Yeah, I was definitely walking down memory lane. Reminders of childhood. Reminders of days gone by, lost by the years, forgotten by past sins, neglected and packed away by the demands of the here and now. 

As I’ve listened to these old tunes all through the week, reminiscing of the days of old, I have come to realized there are moments when you must go back. You don’t go back to stay. You don’t even go to hang out for a while. You simply step back to those moments and pick back up the precious values and pieces of your life that you were never meant to leave behind. 

Sometimes, we leave behind treasured shards of our person that were broken, shattered or severed from our heart because of evil, tragedy or abuse. Just because we are wounded, God never meant for us to leave the good with it. Just because we lost ourselves to sin, busyness or just the chaos of life, doesn’t mean He meant for us to leave the love and grace He gave to us in the beginning. 

Sometimes, we must step back and snatch those cherished things away from our buried past in order to become the complete whole person He desires for us to be today. Sometimes, we must remember in order to move forward. Sometimes, we must reminisce in order to live on. 

However, a note of caution when you do this. It can be very tempting to stay in that place, to just remain in the days of old, to never return to the daily grind, thinking somehow it will be easier and less painful than the growth demanded in present day. Yet, if you remain, you realize that truly those things don’t fit you anymore. They are like an old jacket discarded, no matter how much you move and struggle to make it adjust, it’s too tight across the chest. Your heart has out grown them, because He desires new things for you, bigger and better things for you now. 

Pick up what you must and move beyond quickly. Return to the present to be the stronger, wiser, and more complete warrior whom He has destined you to be! He has incredible plans ahead! Get ready! 😊

**Note: I do not own nor possess any of the linked songs or videos above. These are tagged from a simple google/YouTube search.**

It’s All Gone

When our words are cross 

Time stands still

All the joy is gone

And I can’t find my will

When our looks are stern

Clouds roll in

All the fun times are gone 

And the wages are sin

When silence is strong 

Darkness falls

All the laughter is gone

And the buildings are walls

When you’re not with me 

Life turns gray

All the sunshine hides

And I can’t find the day

Please come back to me…

Penned – MG – 5/11/17