Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hidden Treasures

(Newest treasure: Gail Pittman storage tin)

Do any of you like treasure hunts? Finding hidden treasures? I do! It may be in a corner of my closet or up in the attic that I find something I had stored and forgotten about. Or it could be something I come across at a yard sale or thrift store. Yesterday I found one of those little "hidden treasures" at our local Salvation Army Thrift Store.

I had taken several things to donate to the thrift store yesterday so took that in the back door. Had a little extra time...which I usually don't...and decided to go in the front and look around. I found several "treasures": the movie "Gone With the Wind", a next-to-new pair of tiny white leather baby tennis shoes (which I will give to a friend or someone at Sav-A-Life) and a metal tin by Mississippi artist Gail Pittman. I spent a whopping sum of $3 and a few cents! These things someone else didn't want in their homes anymore just made my day!

I was thinking about some of the "hidden treasures" I have found in people that have come into my life. Once a week my husband and I visit the church van route. (He drives the van on Sundays) We just go by and knock on their doors and remind them that the van will be around early Sunday morning. If they're not home, we leave a flier telling what will be going on at church that week. (This weekend we'll be having a cookout after the morning service to celebrate the 4th of July)

Some of our families live in some pretty bad conditions. Some because of poverty. Some because of sin. Some have stable family lives. Some are bounced from "pillar to post" every week. Some of the families we have gotten to know well. Some have stayed strangers...of their own choice.

But all these precious people are treasures. They are hidden to many because lots of folks don't want to go inside a house trailer to visit when there are hundreds of roaches crawling on the doors, the floors, and the furniture. Or because sometimes the smell of the open garbage can beside the front door is so bad it makes you gag. Or because the baby who comes to the door with their mama has a runny nose and matted eyes and a very smelly diaper. So many things that keep these treasures hidden.

I have to admit that it's even sometimes hard for me. But God has given us so many glimpses into the lives of these "treasures" of His. He died for these people. They need to know that! We try to tell them. Some of them have learned to trust Him. Some of them already know Him. We've had several adult ladies start riding the van faithfully in the last couple of months. One of these ladies and her husband are raising about eight of their grandchildren! She has been such a blessing as we visit in her home each week.

I thought about Jesus as he "must needs go through Samaria" and how he witnessed to the woman at the well there. She was not living right. But she didn't know Jesus. There are so many people who are just like her. Will we be like Jesus' disciples who "marvelled that he talked with the woman" or will we be like Jesus and purposely reach out to those who others sometimes ignore? I hope that we can search out "hidden treasures" all around us so that we can tell them about Jesus...the One Who can give them all they've ever needed and more! As Jesus said to the woman at the well..."But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. " (John 4: 14)

Happy Treasure Hunting!


~Note~ I do not mean to imply that every one of our families live in horrid conditions. Some of the homes are very well kept and clean. Just wanted to clear that up!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lunch With Familiar Friends

Yesterday my friends JoAnn, Teresa, Emilie and I met at a little tearoom called Crabapple Corner and had lunch together. It was a long overdue meeting. The four of us have been friends for years and years but had not gotten together in ages. We all went to church together for quite a while and formed a bond that has never been broken!

As you can see by looking at my plate, the food was superb. I had the "Tuesday Special"... Chicken Pasta Salad which came with fresh fruit and club crackers. That and a glass of sweet tea satisfied my tummy tremendously! But the delicious food and cute, trendy tearoom didn't hold a candle to how much I enjoyed "breaking bread" with my friends!

(Teresa, Emilie, JoAnn, & Marilyn)

Last night as I was thinking back over our lunch, two verses of Scripture came to my mind. The first was Proverbs 27: 17..."Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." This verse is so true with this group of ladies. Each of them are long-time Christians and have a solid foundation of Bible under their belts. It's a joy to sit and talk with and learn from them. I truly believe that in knowing them I have become a better person.

The other verse I thought of was Proverbs 17: 17a... "A friend loveth at all times." These three ladies have brought that verse to life for me.

I think I've known JoAnn the longest. For about thirty years now I believe. Since our youngest child was just a baby. She has been a friend through thick and thin. I remember times when my kids were small that she would come over and watch them while Benny was working because I had a migraine and could not get out of bed. She's always the first to arrive with food if I get sick or there's a tragedy in the family. When I sprained my ankle really, really bad she came and cleaned up my house for me. She's one of the most unselfish people I know!

Emilie has long been one of my heroes. She is just about everything that I'm not! She loves life and is not afraid to enjoy it! Traveling, speaking, flying....all that she takes in stride without breaking a sweat! And always with a smile on her face! I still have a letter Emilie wrote to me when my kids were really small and I was having discipline problems with one of them. She just wrote to encourage me and to tell me to not give up. And she was right....soon the problem was righted and solved.

I well remember the first time I met Teresa. When she came in my house she brought her crochet with her and I was just amazed to watch her fingers fly. She's a lefty so it was all backwards to me anyway! :) She was active in Child Evangelism work and knew so much more about Scripture than me. A soft, slow Southern accent marks her speech. I'm not sure I've ever heard her raise her voice. Teresa's had to face a lot of hard issues with her health but you would never know it to be around her. She never complains. I'll never forget the day our son John was having brain surgery in Germany after being medivaced out of Iraq. An IED had blown up and hit him in the shoulder and head. The Marine Corps had advised us to not try and go to Germany so I was anxiously sitting at home w.a.i.t.i.n.g. for the surgery to begin and end. Our dogs began their little "someone's here" bark and I looked out the window to see Teresa and her husband driving up. She came in and gave me a hug and a jar of jelly. Just a soft word, a pat on the shoulder, and then we didn't say too much. There was not a need for words. We knew each other too well. The comfort that her just being there gave was enough. We didn't have to fill up the quiet with words.

I have many other friends and if you're reading this, you're most likely one of them! I thank God daily for all my friends. What would I do without you? My life would surely be a bland sort of existence without the variety of friends that have been brought into my life. Some of you I have known since childhood....and you are so very special to me! Some of you I have known only a short while. You are becoming very special to me! Thank you to each of you who claim me as your friend! What a blessing friendship is! How we should appreciate it more!

Much love to all my friends wherever you are!


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bee-Careful !

Hot. Summer. Weather. Heat Advisory. Whew! It's hot here in the South right now! And a lot of Southerners like to go barefoot in this kind of weather. I want to give you a word of caution: DON'T! That is, if you have white clover blooming in your yard right now! My granddaughter and my daughter-in-law have both stepped on honey bees in the past week in their back yard. The bees just love this clover! And they're just doing their job...gathering nector to make their honey for the winter. If you interfere with them by stepping on them with your bare foot though, they'll defend themselves with their stinger!

A couple of weeks ago when we were out visiting the church bus route on a Saturday morning, I was looking at the yard of the house we had just stopped at. It was needing mowing and was just totally covered by white clover blooms. A light dusting of snow could hardly have been any whiter. I was thinking how beautiful and soft looking it was when the hum of bees....plural...many bees...caught my ear. Then I adjusted my vision and focused not on the clover blooms and yard as a whole but on just one or two blooms up close by me. A bee on almost every one! As I moved my eyes from one section of clover to another I was amazed at the number of bees at work.

A thought came to me then. Sometimes people look at things just "generally" and all they see is the beauty of the thing. They don't see anything harmful or bad in it. But it may be that Satan has a hidden agenda that they can't see. Maybe it's something that down the road will come back to haunt them if they indulge in it. Satan will make us look at the big picture and see how beautiful the flowers are. He will get us so comfortable in this new environment that we will "kick off our shoes" and relax....not realizing that there are poisonous bees on each bloom that will sting us the minute we put our bare foot on the ground.

We need protection on our feet from the honey bees just the same as we need protection on our lives from the sting of Satan. "And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace:" (Ephesians 6: 15) We must keep our eyes open and be able to recognize the bait that Satan puts in front of Christians. He would like nothing better than to cause a Christian to let their guard down , take off their shoes, and wade right into a life of sinful living. "At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder." (Proverbs 23: 32)

So, BEE careful this summer that you don't get stung!


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Squash Pickles, Mustard Seeds, and God

(Recipe has been added to comment section by request)

This year we are having an abundance of squash in our garden. We've had it stewed with onions and butter, deep fried, and made into squash dressing. A few days ago I had enough small squash to make a batch of one of our favorites....Squash Pickles!

Mustard seeds are a key ingredient in the pickles. As I watched the seeds fall into the mixing bowl from my measuring spoons my thoughts turned to the Bible and the passages where Jesus talked about mustard seeds.

My first thought was of where He told His disciples that if they had faith the size of a mustard seed then they could move mountains. (Matt. 17: 20) or to command a tree to pull itself up by the roots and throw itself into the ocean (Luke 17: 6). Now I don't know about you, but my faith has never made it to the size of a mustard seed yet! Because I have not moved any mountains lately! :) I do want to have more faith. God deserves my faith!

Another time that Jesus mentioned the lowly mustard seed was in Luke 13: 18-19 where He said: "Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it?
It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it. "

Oh what a blessing to know that I am part of this kingdom of God! I'm so glad that God uses the "little" everyday things in life to point me to Him and His goodness and His faithfulness!

May God bless you!


Friday, June 11, 2010

Catching Up

Last Sunday was my birthday. We always get to church early because my husband drives the church van. I use the extra time to look over my Sunday school lesson again and put the worksheets and clipboards out on each lady's chair. When I walked into my classroom and flipped on the light, I saw an envelope with my name and "Happy Birthday" written across the front lying on my teaching podium. Immediately I thought about all the sweet, sweet ladies in my class who had done this! I opened the card and saw that they had all written little notes in the cards. Precious! And to top it all off, there was a little zip lock bag with cash in it! Wow!

After a good church service we met our youngest son, his girlfriend, and our daughter for lunch. When I walked in I saw the "Happy Birthday" balloon on the table. Awwww! Our son bought our lunch and had the cutest card for me. His girlfriend had tucked a Wendy's giftcard in her card. I know I'll enjoy that! Love those Wendy's baked potatoes!

After lunch our daughter told me she had something for me in her car. She came lugging this very nice, heavyweight "Welcome" mat over to me. It will match our porch perfectly WHEN we get all this remodeling done! ha I can't wait to use it!

On Monday we met our daughter-in-law and grandbabies at McDonald's. Our 4-year-old granddaughter came running to me with something for me to "open please!"

A handmade card picturing our house and family! And more cash inside too! I've got to plan a shopping trip soon! ha

I've been just birthday-ing all week! Yesterday my husband's gift for me came via Fed-Ex. A new phone with a slider QWERTY keyboard for texting! Yea! I called to have it activated this morning but AS OF RIGHT NOW it's not happened! A little aggravated about that! Can't wait to start using it! Kept my old phone number though.

We have so much going on right now that I have not had time to read blogs much less write one lately. We have been working both outside and inside our house. Put on siding, painted, put down vinyl rug in living room, etc. Still have not gotten the furniture back in the living room yet. The rug store was out of "seam sealer" so we hope to get that today. Then will have to put the baseboards back on. Whew! Will be SO glad when this is done.

Well, guess that just about catches you up on what's been going on with me.

God is good! I'm so thankful for the years He has blessed me with and for the wonderful family and friends He has sent my way!

Hope you have a blessed weekend!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Abundant Fruit Is Our Goal

"...the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing:" (Isaiah 35: 1b-2a)

Just a couple of weeks ago I posted pictures of my rose bush in full bloom. It was beautiful and the fragrance was so thick that when I walked by I automatically stopped and took a big whiff before moving on! But, sadly to say, this beauty and fragrance is not to be had when I walk outside today!

Here's the reason. After having such heavy blooms during it's peak, the hot temperatures took a toll on the bush and all the flowers started fading and dropping their petals. And bad gardener that I am, I never took the time to go and cut off the "dead-heads" from the bush although I knew that was the proper thing to do!

Yesterday afternoon I could stand it no more. I knew I would not see nor smell many more red roses this summer if I didn't do something! So I put on my gloves, picked up some old scissors and went out to see what I could do to remedy the problem! I pruned every old dead flower I could find, put them in a five-gallon bucket and dumped them into a ditch.

I was surprised and happy to notice while doing the pruning that one branch of the rose bush has put on new buds in spite of all the deadness around it! There will be beautiful red roses again before long! And I'm sure that the whole bush will begin budding again soon also.

All this reminded me of our lives as Christians. When the conditions are all good, we bloom and grow and give off a delightful "fragrance" of the Lord to others around us. That is where we all long to be. But then along comes the hot temperatures, the sweltering sun, the lack of rain, and we begin to dry up. Here's where we should have the insight to start snipping off those "dead branches" in our lives before they start sucking the life out of us. But, as I already said, I'm not a good gardener, so I usually put it off spiritually as well. Then things get so bad that we are not producing any flowers or any fragrance and the Master Gardener has to come along and prune off the old deadheads! He does that through His Word....whether He uses a preacher, another teacher, a godly friend, or just time in His Word during my devotions. These words in John give us such a clear picture of this procedure: "I AM the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." John 15: 1-2

As I pruned my rosebush the old song "Where the Roses Never Fade" (words & music by Robert & Janie West Metzgar, 1929) kept coming to my mind. Do y'all know that old song? Here are a few of the lyrics:

I am going to a city, Where the streets with gold are laid;

Where the tree of life is blooming, And the roses never fade.

Here they bloom but for a season

Soon their beauty is decayed.

I am going to a city,

Where the roses never fade.

Looking forward to seeing new blooms soon on my red rose bush and also new growth in my spiritual life! And looking forward to eternity in a city where NOTHING ever fades away! And if you're one who will be enjoying heaven with me someday, I'm really looking forward to that!

To God be the glory!