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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A SPOT OF SUNSHINE

With "Thanksgiving Eve" upon us, I am sitting here counting my blessings, naming them one by one. As a fifty something woman, I am grateful for my reliable God, my family, my friends, just to mention three that are sure to be mentioned with immeasurable gratitude by you, as well.

As I ponder this further, I realize that sometimes the basis for gratefulness in my day is because a "spot of sunshine" has come my way. This may have come to me in a smile, a kind word, a note in the mail, a loving hug, an encouraging text or email, a laugh, a song, a written message or verse, a yummy taste of a favorite food, the chance to aid another, sweet memories, excellent health care, and the way my loved ones say my name, just to name a few.

This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes.
"Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves."
~James M. Barrie~

What are the spots of sunshine that you are most comforted and encouraged by
during this THANKSGIVING SEASON?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

LIFE IS A SYMPHONY

Having grown up in a family of six children, four girls and two brothers, I have a clear understanding of how crazy life can be in a large family!

Yesterday, some girlfriends and I had the opportunity to honor one of our dear friends, who along with her husband, has eight children. Her husband wanted to treat her to a surprise party and we helped make this possible.
As we celebrated this milestone birthday, our party theme was:

LIFE IS A SYMPHONY.

Yes, LIFE IS A SYMPHONY WITH THIS FAMILY!
SOMETIMES CHAOTIC,

MORE OFTEN HARMONIOUS,

SOMETIMES OUT OF TUNE,

BUT ALWAYS FILLED
WITH LOVE!

Thirty-five friends, along with the birthday girl's Mama, as well as her oldest daughter, shared with the group why this extraordinary mother of eight was particularly special to each of them. It was beautiful to witness the edification that took place as we feasted on a delicious lunch and went around the room telling humorous tales and sharing from our hearts.
Before dessert was served, we viewed a 15 minute memory video of a little girl who was born in 1959 with two older sisters, a wedding, eight new babies and many friend photos, as well.
The songs played along with the pictures were familiar to all:
IN MY LIFE~The Beatles
SIMPLE THINGS~Jim Brickman
DON'T STOP~Fleetwood Mac
FOREVER YOUNG~Rod Stewart
We all got a laugh out of the Lucille Ball quote near the end of the video:

"To stay young, live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age!"

And the icing on the "video cake" was a brief recorded message from the birthday girl's Mother reminding her of what a huge blessing it has been to have her as her daughter.
My unexpected and enormous blessing as these party plans fell into place, was getting to know this dear Mother even better than before. She reminds me so very much of my own Mama and it was a comfort and a joy spending time with her! PURE PLEASURE, in fact.

In lieu of wrapped presents, the ladies gave a monetary donation to our local homeless shelter.
This gift totaled $1,720.00!!!!!!!!

The lunch guests said their goodbyes with an iced cookie shaped
like one of the symphony instruments pictured above.

HAPPY 1/2 CENTURY TO
THIS VERY DEAR HEART FRIEND
OF 30+ YEARS!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A LONG AND WINDING ROAD

As we travel along this long and winding road called LIFE, there are sure to be trecherous curves and
bumps in our path that slow us down
and moreover, bring us to a halting stop.
These can be catastrophic and tragic or hopefully, more likely,
a sadness in our hearts over
some circumstance that has transpired in our journey.
Either way, as a 50 something woman, I have discovered the importance to have folks, friends and family, who will walk beside me, shoulder-to-shoulder
and not try to fix the unfixable in my life.

These friends truly are the FLOWERS IN THE GARDEN OF LIFE!

These friends truly are a GIFT FROM GOD ABOVE.


Henri J.M. Nouwen (1932-1996) was born in Nijkerk, Holland, and came to the United States in 1964. A Roman Catholic Priest and psychologist, he has taught at several prestigious universities, including Yale, Harvard, and Notre Dame. He is the author of over twenty books, among them The Wounded Healer and With Open Hands, with a more recent one being The Road to Daybreak. I have often been inspired by Nouwen's writing and once again, I am moved to share his thoughts on "what really matters".

"When we honestly ask which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief or bereavement, who can tolerate not-knowing, not-curing, not-healing, and face with us the reality of our powerlessness...makes it clear that whatever happens in the external world, being present to each other is what really matters."

As I travel along on my long and winding road,
I desire to be this kind of friend to those God puts in my path
and I am so grateful to those whom
He has provided to minister to me in my times of need.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

THESE HIKING BOOTS

I am determined to stay active during this season of my life.
Vigorous exercise energizes me and helps me to sleep better, too.
When I lace up these hiking boots, I feel good because I know I am about to give my heart a gift!

But keeping our heart in tune is so much more than just lacing up sneakers or hiking boots. It is about staying in touch with those deep places in our heart and listening to God's still small voice.

Proverbs 4:23 reminds us:
"Above ALL ELSE, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."

As a fifty-something woman, with our last child spreading his wings and preparing for high school graduation in just six short months, the question keeps coming up in my heart and mind...purposeful living, that is what I desire for the future. But what does that mean, exactly?

It will be different for each one of us, however, I am convinced that the way to find out is by seeking God first and the answers will come in due time.
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well."
Matthew 6:33
So, let's get moving and give our heart a good work-out, physically as well as spiritually!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A BEAUTIFUL OCTOBER



I have missed taking time out for this blog, but we have enjoyed a beautiful and fun October! We started the month celebrating our 27Th wedding anniversary on October 2ND, in the Great Smokey Mountains of Tennessee and then joining friends for the AU vs UT game at Neyland Stadium.
The foliage was well on its way at that time.






On October 8Th, our oldest entered into adulthood with her 21st birthday! FUN!

As the month continued, we took advantage of our local beauty, hiking Kennesaw Mountain regularly.











Mid-month, we visited Callaway Gardens and
I spent a few quiet minutes at the scenic small chapel there.










As the month neared the end, my three sisters, 89 year old Daddy and I visited our Mama's grave site in Rossville, GA, just on the TN/GA state line. On my sister, Laura Lea's suggestion, we chose
to sing praises at the site knowing that she was in heaven
and thanking God for the wonderful impact and legacy she has
had on each one of us, and the blessing our father continues to
be in our lives.
Gratefulness overflowed from each of us!





And then at the end of the month,
just for fun, we joined a few friends in
costume at the Marietta Square for a
Ghost Tour Trolley Ride.

THIS PAST MONTH INCLUDED THREE OF THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE:
FAITH,
FAMILY
AND FRIENDS.