Friday, October 31, 2014

SWEET INTIMACY

Most of us want--need--crave intimacy.  The sweet closeness and warmth of love which comes only one on one.  Someone so near--we can hear their heart beat, know the sound of the rhythm of their breathing, and read their thoughts as they are being formed.  



Intimacy matures with time and is one of those amazing things in life which grows and becomes more beautiful with experience. Bluntly stated not all relations are intimate relations.  Familiarity breeds a deeper level of intimacy as we share important moments with another over extended periods of time. With time and familiarity, intimacy deepens and sweetens.

The most intimate act I have ever experienced---one so deep and profound that  it stirred not just my heart but my very soul is praying with another.  I am not speaking of Pharisaical prayers uttered in group--not even speaking of family prayer time--I am speaking of one on one---grab your hand--bear my soul---praying together time.  This intimacy can be shared with any loved one--not necessarily a spouse.


Intimacy comes from acknowledging who I truly am and who God is to me--with another.  Bearing my very soul--stripping down to the real me--and allowing another to uphold me before God with full knowledge of who I am and yet still caring enough to pray with me, for each of us and our relationship. The acknowledgement of how lost and weak I am without Him and the truth of the mess my life is without Him is the icebreaker for the full richness of intimacy.  My open admission of my absolute dependency upon Him--with another is the sweetest taste of intimacy I have ever known. 

There is NO more intimate act than prayer with another.


Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another,
 that you may be healed. 
James 5:16

Thursday, October 30, 2014

LEFT OVERS

Cooking for one has led to the dilemma of left-overs.  My Scot-Irish roots rebel against wasting and throwing away food.  I am good for once and maybe twice with the left-overs--BUT THEN I AM DONE!  I am a firm believer in many things become better with a little time--the seasonings have time to REALLY liven up most dishes with some mellowing but mellow can turn to mush after a while.



I am at a loss in how to plan my cooking so the dish is always empty and no taste has been lost by decreasing the ingredients to make a smaller dish.  The goal of a clean plate is an elusive target.



Why after the third serving--even the dog would refuse the left over remains!



I looked up the definition of left-overs


  1. something, especially food, remaining after the rest has been used or consumed.

  2. and then the synonyms

I began thinking--am I inviting God to my table first---or am I giving Him the leftovers--the residue--the throwback.  My time, my talents, my service, my finances--do I serve Him the First Fruits?  Am I fulfilling my own self centered needs and desires and then as a second thought giving Him what is left?

Do I ask Him to the first seating at my table---or remember Him at the second or third seating?  Am I offering him what is left--that the dogs even turn their noses up at?  OH---Lord have mercy on me!

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce;
Proverbs 3:9

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

ONE MORE THOUGHT

My wise and wonderful friend Linda who blogs HERE at Creekside Ministries posted this comment on yesterday's blog:

Hope is a hard thing to grasp onto when you've never experienced it, never seen it modeled, have never had it offered to you. 

Those of us who've survived hopeless seasons in our lives have only gotten a tiny taste of what much of the world's people live their whole lives.

God, have mercy.


Her comment brought to mind the brief skirmishes I have had with Hopelessness.  Those times when I knew there was not ONE THING I could do to stop the fast approaching collision with the freight train of loss.  The times I THOUGHT my prayers were stopping at the ceiling or God had taken a holiday.  Those times when all my efforts wrapped into one huge package would not put a dent in the reality of the circumstance.  The utter despair knowing the situation was out of my control and I had no choice but to accept the inevitable.  The total loss of hope for a change in reality.

The truth is---over the course of almost 66 years----I have fallen into the pit of hopelessness--BUT--it has never lasted and I have always recovered the sense of hope for a better tomorrow.  I have clung to the promise that He knows the plans He has for me---plans for a hope and a future.  My life is blessed beyond most of the world's wildest dream.

Yes, MANY of the world's people live in hopelessness and NEVER see the first glimmer of hope for a better tomorrow.  As she so well stated, 
Hope is a hard thing to grasp onto when you've never experienced it, never seen it modeled, have never had it offered to you. 
My pea brain cannot wrap around how one lives with never any hope and how you accept the horrible reality of eternal hopelessness.

As I listened to Dr. David Jeremiah's sermon this morning, and heard his reminder of the day of judgement, I cringed at the thought of standing before Jesus someday and trying to explain my actions.  What good explanation could there possibly be for turning a deaf ear, diverting my gaze, and ignoring the plight of the poor---when He specifically commands me to care for them? YES--He lavishes mercy upon me and forgives me---BUT will he divert his gaze, turn a deaf ear or ignore my sorry excuses on that day of judgement or will He tell me--I had such blessings planned for you, if ONLY!

GOD HAVE MERCY INDEED!  

And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.”
Luke 3:11

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

PART DEUX--AT HOME WITH THE HOMELESS

Yesterday's post seems to have pricked our collective hearts---and also caused much discussion.  When God uses my words to begin our collective pondering of a age old dilemma, my soul sings praises to Him.  Comments on the blog and Facebook and private messages on FB have indicated this is one subject we all have spent time pondering.  Two of the FB private message discussions centered around "Choice".  

Is this their choice to be "Homeless" or living in a shelter?  If so--WHY would anyone choose this life of poverty?

As I pondered this question, knowing what I do and seeing what I have seen, my response is perhaps it is a choice.  Why then would someone make this choice?   

A BROKEN SPIRIT



When I have been faced with REALLY tough challenges in life and I cannot seem to meet and conquer the obstacles in my path, my path of least resistance is to give up---with an excuse or the acceptance of this is just how it is.  

I am having a tough time making new friends here in Fort Worth.  After almost a year of trying and the seeming inability to make those deep strong friendships I was so blessed with in Ruston, I crawled into my cave this summer and quit trying.  It was impossible and I was tired of failing--so I gave up.  My Spirit was broken-----HOPE---fled my heart and I decided this was the way it was going to be.  Loss of hope will lead to a Broken Spirit and a Broken Spirit leads to failure to dare to even try.

Faced with failure after failure of not finding jobs, inability to sustain appropriate relationships, no home, no future, ill health at times, and a society for the most part that expects you to fail---they just give up and call it their choice.  When you seem to have lost all other control in your life--then claiming it to be a choice is the last bulwark of your control.  Put on a brave face, with a defiant lift to your chin, and look the Man in the eye and say, "I choose this life."

BUT if it were possible to trade places with the "Haves" in the world---have the job, have the home, have the future, seemingly have it all---WHAT do you think their response would be?  Live in a world of want, hunger, danger, and no home or live with a roof over your head, the sure knowledge you were successful in making a living, food on your table, clothes on your back and a sure and certain future--which would they choose?

My heart says---HOPE would always be the choice.

The bottom line is --if you are a Believer---The Word does not say----"if they are poor through no fault of their own"----it says "Help the poor"  and be blessed for it!

If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
Isaiah 58:10

Monday, October 27, 2014

AT HOME WITH THE HOMELESS

The reason I do not help help the homeless is they have made a choice.  Their choice has lead to them sleeping on the streets.  If they would just get a job and work like all the rest of us, they would not be on the street.  If I give them money, they may buy alcohol or drugs with it and not food.  If I give them my old clothes, they will not appreciate my extreme generosity.  I  am not going to help someone who will not help themselves.

Any part of this may be true, but here is what I am learning.  As the mothers walk into the large room where we are tutoring, they will not make eye contact with you.  They know that I know that they are living in the shelter.  They feel like a failure and shame bows their heads and diverts their eyes.  I struggle with my self image, but the struggle they must face has to be over-whelming.

The children are wary of you and look at you with distrust in the beginning.  They have to change schools while living in the shelter---they must attend the school in the district where the shelter is located.  New school, new teacher, new temporary home, and most are struggling academically.  Who knows what they have seen, what they have heard, or what has happened to them.  It is disturbing at a minimum to think about this while with them.

One student had a note in their backpack from the teacher--"Not paying attention".  Perhaps they have other things on their minds---perhaps it is difficult to sleep in a new place---perhaps the other children are bullying them--or perhaps they think everyone in the class knows they have no home--they come from the shelter.  It is enough to break my heart.

These mothers are still mothers and love their children.  These children are still children and love their mothers and daddies.  They walk into the study hall out of breath and reeking of sweaty child smell which comes from time on the play ground.  If you saw them on the street, you would see no difference in them and your own children or grands.  They are sweet precious children--who live in a homeless shelter-through no fault of their own. 

So the next time you are given the opportunity to help one of the homeless---remember this---It is not our responsibility to question their circumstances--it is our blessing to offer help.  We have all been scammed--and shame on those who scam you---but remember the shame that must come from resorting to beg--and just help them.




Sunday, October 26, 2014

Saturday, October 25, 2014

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD

The on-going sage of unclaimed dog poop took a leap to new heights this week.  I believe at last count their were more than 10 emails in the thread.  The last one a request to keeping the conversation shorter in an effort to curtail the lengthy email.  The conversation ranged from "go to your brother one on one and point out the error of their ways", to "do unto your neighbor by picking up their dog's poop", to install "install nannie cams and smite the head of the offending pooper's handler".  MY MY MY---



Click on this photo and look at his face---and see SHAME!
Even the dog knows better!

The annual "Clean up the Hood" day is coming.  We are all invited to a wonderful Saturday of cleaning out the alleys ans sprucing up the common areas.  My idea of fun!


Someone inquired if the "Graffiti Abatement Office" had been notified about the new graffiti on the near by underpass.  WHO KNEW there was such a thing as Graffiti Abatement??  WOW  -someone makes a living going around erasing spray painted words of wisdom on public surfaces!  One of the citizens of The Hood suggested we paint murals on these surfaces for public enjoyment.  Perhaps that explains this mural on the wall across from the Mission.  I only captured a portion of it with my cell camera--it is an entire block long.


And finally--the entire world is in panic over-drive concerning the spread of Ebola.  Dr SIL has calmed any fears I might have had -BUT after spotting this I have discontinued eating any type of beef.  I am pretty sure there has been a resurgence of "MAD COW DISEASE" after spotting this fellow!



This fellow below has been here this week while working and I have rediscovered the joys of cooking.  So much fun to cook for an appreciative partaker!




And this "Silly Goose" is four years old today!  WHERE does the time go when you are having fun!


And that's all the news here in The Hood, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking and the children above average.

Friday, October 24, 2014

THE STATE I LIVE IN

Although it is really something---I am NOT referring to the

GREAT STATE OF TEXAS

The state in which I live is the State of Denial--

I have pretty much spent a lifetime in this state of blissful denial.

My jeans seem to be getting tight--why NO---I have not gained any weight---they shrunk in the wash.

Why yes, my car does seem to be knocking, but it cannot be anything serious.

There is a stack of correspondence/business a mile high on my desk, but it can wait until a rainy day.

Hum those symptoms seem to be getting worse, but if I just wait a few more days, it will get better.

I keep forgetting names or worse yet--calling someone the wrong name for a few months---it has nothing to do with aging.

The flower beds are in dire need of weeding, but with winter coming any day the first freeze should kill those weeds.

Winter is coming, but the drainage problem will get better with time or perhaps it will not rain this winter.

I lost my winter coat in my moves, but perhaps it will not be cold this winter and I can get by without one.

ON AND ON----I can deny the truth when it is sitting right in front of my nose. 

No one goes to bed hungry at night.

Everyone has a roof over their head.

We have the most advanced medical system in the world here, so everyone is receiving medical care.

Someone else is covering all the needs of the poor, the widows, the orphans--there are droves of people trying to help.

In today's high tech world, everyone is in contact with others--no one is ever lonely.

My neighbors are not lost, lonely, afraid---we live in a great neighborhood.

The mission is opening my eyes--it is one quarter of a mile away from some of the downtown trendy-  high end lofts.  If it were safe, I could walk the three miles from my home when I volunteer.  I lived my life with blinders and in a state of denial.  We live in the most advanced society in the world---there could not possibly be any needs---

They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.
Titus 1:16

Thursday, October 23, 2014

CITIZEN'S ARREST---CITIZEN'S ARREST!!!

OH People-- you don't know of what I speak?  You are confessing to not being a student of the Andy Griffith Show?  For shame---not to fear---I will enlighten you-




Poor Barney!  He is SO busy watching all the good citizens of Mayberry in an effort to monitor their absolute obedience to the law that he got caught in his own trap.  His lecture to Gomer backfired  as Gomer takes his directive to heart and promptly calls "Citizen"s Arrest--Citizen's Arrest!"  It would appear Barn felt he was above the law since he wore a badge and drove that black & white vehicle with the gumball machine on top. None are above the law--- Justice would be done---but Barney melted down when Andy demanded justice be equal.

Color me GUILTY---my righteous indignation over the sins my neighbor commits never looks in a mirror at my own sinful face.  My pointing finger needs to be curved! All those 911's and 912's---I DID IT!  None of us EVER want to except our share of the blame for anything.  We all may sin--but our sins are not as bad as your sins.  We are a SAD -  SAD LOT!  Sin IS Sin! AND I AM GUILTY AS CHARGED!

I am so thankful--when I step into the courthouse--and stand before the Judge--my advocate pays my fine for me so that I might go free!  I am a citizen set free with no fear of punishment---Jesus paid the fine!

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23







Wednesday, October 22, 2014

IT'S NOT MY TURN!!!!

As I watch my grandchildren, I remember the age old controversy of who goes first.  These little fellows tend to argue ceaselessly over "Who goes first!"



The little one is still not talking much, but he manages to point, grunt, and generally pitch a fit to be sure we know he wants to go too.  

They fight over going first EXCEPT when it is sitting in the dentist chair, getting immunization shots, eating a strange new food, picking up their toys, and other generally non-desirable activities.  THEN they are more than happy to allow the other brother an opportunity to go first.

We adults like to go first also.  We want to be led to the only open table in the restaurant while a long line waits behind us, we want prime seating-up front for any important event, we want the first piece of cake, and the first bowl of home-made ice-cream.  We want our children to be first academically, in sports, in the arts, in general in any activity they participate.  Our thirst for first can be unquenchable and lead to a slippery slope headed to disappointment.

Someone has to lead the pack when we are hiking.  I have had no trouble being the turtle except for this day  ---and that lead to BIG trouble.  As we hike those trails, I always remember someone "Went First", and blazed that trail for us.  Someone then came along and built the very trail we are walking on--NOT an easy task.  Someone had to go first--in order for us to go later and enjoy the glory of His creation.



Trail we hiked this past summer.


King Solomon tells us there is nothing new under the sun---perhaps not--but there are opportunities to "Go First" spiritually.  The nudging of the Holy Spirit when we see a calamity, an injustice, the poor, the hungry, the destitute--physically and spiritually is not a call to say "Bless Their Hearts"--it is a call to "Go First" and do something about it.  Perhaps something as simple as taking a meal or mowing a yard---God desires to bless us---but first we must "Go First".


God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
Hebrews 6:10

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

PICKING AT SCABS

I had a wound---a grievous wound---a deep split in the very tissue.




It was painful beyond belief and the tears flowed like a river each and every time I felt the unbearable agony of the open and raw wound.  The initial injury was sudden and traumatic, but the re-occurring injury during those early days of trauma served to deepen the cut and prolong the agony.  Surely this wound was life threatening, for I had never felt such pain.

With time, the wound began to heal, but just as I thought I had begun to heal, there would be a new trauma and the wound would gap open yet again.  The day finally came, with steps to protect the wound, that it did begin to heal.

The wound was healing, but for some strange reason, I began to pick at the scab.  I could not leave it alone--could not get it out of my mind.  It would begin to heal--and I would begin to pick--without provocation-almost without knowing I was doing it--I continued to pull the scab off and reopen the painful injury over and over.  Something pulled me--lured me--back to the wound and over and over I inflicted more pain by jerking off the scab.  

Finally I went to a Great Physician.  He gave me a balm to pour on the wound and wise words of counsel to keep my mind off the wound.  He put me to work and kept me busy and I found I was not thinking about the wound as much.  He tenderly touched the wound and it began to finally heal.  Oh, there were days when I would revisit the wound, but those became fewer and fewer.  With His great wisdom and healing touch, I began to allow the healing.

At long last--the wound healed--but there was a deep scar.  The strange thing about scars, they begin to fade with time.  The most amazing thing--is that the scar left by the wound has made the connective tissue even stronger. Perhaps that old saying, "That which doesn't kill us will make us stronger," is true.  Who but the Master Creator would have created us to be stronger after healing?  We are truly fearfully and wonderfully made!  


I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Psalm 139:14

Monday, October 20, 2014

HIS GOOD PURPOSE

This past week, while at Bible Study, a sheet was passed around with the coming year's mission opportunities through my church.  KNOWING how I LOVE to travel my heart begins pitter-patting and my eyebrows shoot up as I scan the list--


ECUADOR

BELIZE

KENYA

FRANCE

HONDURAS

INDIA


A virtual potpourri of choices ALL around the globe!


Smack dab in the middle of the list is FORT WORTH.



I recently read Kisses from Katie---a long term best selling book which amazed me, touched me, and motivated me.  The story of young Katie going to Africa and beginning her own mission--it is FULL of the truths about WHY we should participate in mission work---ALL FOR GOD'S GOOD GLORY!




I walked away from this book convicted and convinced God has a mission for each of us.  The challenge is to seek HIS mission for you.  LOVING to travel could cause me to sign up for a mission a month--BUT I am convinced God's mission field for me at this time is Fort Worth.  Right here in my back yard--there is more to do than my mind can wrap around.

I highly recommend read this book--but I also hope you will let God speak to you.  I was inspired by Katie's obedience and dying to self--but God's plan for Katie is not God's plan for me.  He DOES have a plan for each of us and will bless our obedience.  There is only one Joan of Arc, one Lottie Moon, one Corrie Ten Boom, one Elisabeth Elliot, one Mother Theresa, and one Beth Moore.  There is also only one Lulu--We were all created with purpose---God's purpose and we serve a unique mission in the path He desires us to travel.  We are all part of the body--and all parts of the body are with purpose.

So perhaps He has called you to international mission work or perhaps he has called you to serve in your local community or perhaps He has called you to both.  He has a call on each of us--ALL FOR HIS GOOD PURPOSE!


For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.
I Corinthians 12:12


Sunday, October 19, 2014

BROKEN PIECES

Following last week's visit to the potters-

this song seems to resonate with that theme-





BLESSED SABBATH, DEAR FRIENDS!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD

Life has begun to whirl again here in "The Hood" .  Thankfully with the advent of October, I am off the hook of keeping a perfect yard all the time with the removal of this sign.



My tendency to go over-board went into over-drive with the pressure of the announcement to the entire hood via the huge sign.  I am now back to doing the puttering when I feel like puttering and NOT cringing over judgement anxiety.

The Ebola Virus being present at our back door has caused quite the stir.



This month's Hood Newsletter included a full page informative write up.  Dr. Son-In-Law has explained all the steps being taken in the ER to prevent exposure.  My Calvinist leanings have surfaced since I truly am not concerned--when it is my time--it's my time.

Perhaps I should be more concerned about the SWAT team who converged on The Hood today in search of a fugitive who was holed up on the next street. The park is full of a fully armed police force and meanwhile I am sitting in the Bungalow totally unaware of any danger or threat.  Ignorance is bliss?  Reminder to self--keep the doors locked!


Actual Photo Posted On The Hood Chat Room Site

Halloween is upon us and this young man and I began practicing our jack o lantern art this week.




The Hood has a BIG Pumpkin Carving Contest to be judged the night before Halloween.  The report is Halloween is a HUGE deal here in the Hood with more kids than you can shake a stick at coming into the Hood to collect goodies.  I purchased $50 of candy today---if not enough--I will resort to pencils!  I have the perfect idea for a jack o lantern, but need some carving help---would anyone care to volunteer?



Finally I made the sad discovery this week that I am a snob.  All these years, I really thought I did not have a snobbish bone in my body---Turns out I was wrong!




One of my sweet young neighbors stopped and chatted while I was in the yard this week.  She got around to telling me she would really like for me to meet her single dad---AWKWARD MOMENT!  Stuttering and stammering for a few seconds, I replied, "I am older than you think I am."---DEFLECTIVE COMEBACK!  Her response, "That doesn't matter."  RAPID SUBJECT CHANGE!

The truth is---I am not interested UNLESS your Dad has God first in his life.  How do you say that and not give the impression you are judgmental?  I know what is most important in my life and have no desire to be in a relationship with anyone who does not have the same priority.  I have MANY new friends here in FW who are not Believers---women friends--who I freely share my beliefs with, but it is quite different when you begin a relationship with a man for the obvious reason of where that relationship could lead.  So my confession is---I am a snob when it comes to the potential of any male-female relationship.  Thank you--but No Thank You unless we are on equal spiritual footing will have to be my response.

As Garrison Keillor so eloquently states:
And that's all the news here in The Hood, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking and the children above average.

Friday, October 17, 2014

THE FACT IS

I had an entire post written---words upon words --waxing philosophical--trying to give you a word picture of volunteering at UGM.  My second shift of volunteering was tonight and I walked away deleting that post-
and this pouring from me heart-

The Fact Is--

I will never again walk in the door of my sweet little bungalow without thinking of the face of the homeless

I will never walk into my own personal bathroom and not think of those who must share---with virtual strangers

I will never stand under the shower enjoying the hot water until my skin prunes and not think of those who may not have the luxury of a shower everyday

I will never wash my hair, and not think of those who walked by me with hair matted to their heads since they have no home, no shower

I will never open my refrigerator and stare wondering what I would like to eat and not think of those who eat what is put in front of them--when they get to eat

I will never start my car and not think of those I saw walking from long distances for the opportunity to sleep in a dorm room full of others

I will never turn on my air conditioner or my heater to keep the temperature perfect and not think of those I saw sweating or shivering--braving the temperature extremes

I will never gaze into my closet with indecision about what to wear and not think of those who carry their entire wardrobe in one plastic sack.

I will never turn on my alarm system after locking my doors and not think of those who live in fear with no protection.

The fact is the sweet children I work with are victims of poverty--the mothers I saw want the best for their children---and that is not living in a shelter with no home.  It is heart breaking to know 15 minutes from my home there is another world--the world of the homeless.  When I crossed the border after the gate was unlocked, I entered a foreign country--a country I was totally unfamiliar with.  I have began the journey of learning about this foreign country and the fact is--I will never be the same.

But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
I John 3:17-18




Thursday, October 16, 2014

NO GOING BACK

There was a time in my distant past, I never missed an episode of "The Andy Griffith Show".  I was intrigued by the village of "Mayberry" and all the townspeople who lived there.



We spent a night in Mt Airy, NC  aka Mayberry while traveling.  Like most places--time has not stood still.


ra

Floyd retired a LONG time ago.


Juanita gave up on Barney and moved to Greener Pastures.


Wally gave up the ghost when a Convenience Store popped up on every corner.


All that seemed to remain of that gone-by era was Andy's car.


And a sweet statue of a story remembered.

I sometimes still watch the reruns of the classic.  Grabbing on to the memories of a simpler and what seemed easier time in life.  The truth is, I was raised in a Mayberry---many of us were.  Small town--rural living---where everyone knew everyone---the doctor made housecalls---the grocery and pharmacy made deliveries---and the church was filled every Sunday.  I am proud of my rural roots and remember with great fondness my childhood home and friends.  I easily slip back to the twang in my voice which came naturally when surrounded by twangs during those formative years.  It was a good time---one of the best of times---and it is gone--except in my heart---it forever lives  there.

AND OH YES---

GOMER SAYS, "HEY!"



Then they all went home.
John 7:53

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

CHANGING OF SEASON


We drove a portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway while on our fall respite.  Traveling through parts of Virginia and North Carolina, we were mainly in the northern sections of this beautiful drive.  Similar to our Natchez Trace down south, this beautiful drive gives a panoramic view of the glory of creation-as far as one can see. 


The leaves had begun their annual turn and it felt as if we were there at the perfect time.  None of the foliage have begun to drop from the trees yet and there was still plenty of green.  It was a glorious reminder of the stages of life all in one breath taking view.



The scene above was taken from Pinterest, but it captures the glorious scenes we OOH ed and AAH ed over for an entire day.



This is a carriage road which was by the native craft store we visited.  We saw similar paths in New Hampshire.  There were 25 miles of paths in the surrounding mountains originally built for carriages and horses and now used for hiking and biking.  How I would have loved to had a couple of days to explore all those trails!

As I think about the sights and the fall colors we enjoyed, it seems to point to a reminder about life.   Leaves start as buds and then mature into leaves.  The beautiful green leaves work at important tasks the entire warm season.  As the seasons change and the leaves have completed their task, they begin the process of dying.  How wonderful that in this process of dying, they become their most beautiful.  The final task of displaying those beautiful colors before falling to the ground is perhaps the most wonderful stage of the leaf to our human eyes.  Having spent a long season doing the work it was created for--the leaf then has a rest as the chlorophyll production ends and the final fall is in the near future.  Those last days are a delight to our eyes.

I hope as I age---and I draw nearer to the final day---I also might be the most beautiful.  I am praying my colors might be a reflection of the glory of God's presence in my life and all that gaze upon me see the shades of joy, peace, and love He so lovingly has painted into my life.


You will come to the grave in full vigor, Like the stacking of grain in its season.
Job 5;26

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

NEARER MY GOD TO THEE


The potters and the continuing education in the art of pottery was wonderful, but I am most happy when I am outside enjoying the Master Potter's creation.  Man is talented, but he does not hold a candle to the amazing wonders and sights experienced while hiking.  The rock above is called "Hanging Rock" and is located in North Carolina.  The park has many hiking trails including this one and a couple leading to falls.  If you look closely at the picture, you will see the fault line which had to be jumped to get all the way out on the rock.  It added a little adventure to the hike.


These stone steps were near the top of the climb and seemed to go on forever.  I always find it amazing to realize someone moved these rocks and built this hiking trail for others to enjoy.  NOT an easy feat!




This picture I found on Pinterest is a great depiction of exactly how it looked--except the trees had not turned this much yet.  What fun after hiking up there to sit and have my lunch with such a wonderful "Seat by the window".


PROOF--I MADE IT!

I always feel the closest to God when I am climbing the mountains.  You look around and know you are as high as humanly possible and the clouds seem close enough to reach out and touch.  Man has always desired to be physically near God--thus the need to build the Tower of Babel.  The quest to put ourselves on the same level as God is eternal--but it gets us into plenty of trouble.  When we remove God from the throne and place ourselves in charge--the results are always disastrous.  I struggle daily with giving up control and handing it all over to Him.  You would think I would learn by merely glancing around me at His creation --I seem to be a slow learner,but if persistence pays off--perhaps I will eventually learn the lesson.  For now--I am thankful to have made it to the top of this mountain!


And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top [may reach] unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
Genesis 11:4

Monday, October 13, 2014

MOLD ME AND MAKE ME


While traveling this past week, I visited Seagrove, NC.  Deep in rural North Carolina, this area is home to over 200 potters-many of which have been there for multiple generations.  The clay found in this area is the drawing card, but the beauty of the area is the trump card which keeps these families there carrying on the family business.  

The clay and the salt rub process of glazing are trademarks of the local pottery. By the end of the day of touring studios, I was on pottery overload and over-whelmed at all of the talent in such a small area of very rural North Carolina.


The local artist are happy to educate you in the process and the intricacies of producing the final product.  Every potter was unique and had something new to add to the story of "How it happens."

The range of pottery was from the pieces above by Ben Owen which are very expensive and contemporary in design to folk pottery created in the same fashion of many generations.

Somehow I managed to walk away with one small mug in my hand--NOT that I did not covet MANY pieces.  

One of the many things I learned was how long the process takes to create each and every piece.  The throwing of the pot at the potters wheel or molding by hand is only the beginning.  It is a long an complex process beginning with the digging and mixing of the clay.  Each step must be done in proper order with perfect timing, and in a precise manner.  The final piece of pottery comes after hours of work.

How interesting that we find reference to potters in the scripture.  How reassuring to know that God is the potter and I am the clay.  His processes and steps to bring to completion this vessel He intends for me to be are long and complex, BUT OH THE BEAUTY OF HIS HANDIWORK!  I never cease to be amazed at the lessons The Master Potter teaches me!

But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.
Isaiah 64:8