Memories of a lucky girl.


IMG_4849

Memories are funny things. They come back in flashes and they remind us of so many things.

My memories are mostly good. Not just good really, they are great.

This Thanksgiving we sat at the table without my parents and remembered our family prayer, shared the funny things my Mom and Dad would say on big (and small) occasions and reveled in the wonderful adventures we have shared throughout the years.

I was born a lucky girl and I have always thought I was lucky indeed. Now, as I grow older, I realize that this was not an accident. A loving God turned me over to wonderful parents who raised me to know Him and to love Him. They set me on a life path that led me to a terrific husband, blessed me with three daughters and now two grandchildren. I am beyond lucky. I’m not sure there is a word for it really.

I’m stellar.

But most of all, I know that my past and my future come together in God’s hands. I worry not because He has taken such good care of me for so long that I know my luck has not run out. As one who loves the Lord, I am certain my luck will never end. Life and the life to come is only going to get better.

I’m making memories now for my family. I hope in the future they will look back and think their parents did some crazy, funny, and loving stuff and they will miss us a little. But, I also hope they will know that God watches over them and one day…one glorious day…we will all laugh together again.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans togive you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

How to avoid Stewardship Sermons

givinggrowingblessingwordsF

It happened last week. The annual stewardship sermon.

I could use this post as my chance to chastise people for the way they look at and follow through with giving their tithe. But, I won’t do it. I’m no saint, in fact, I’m a sinner – just like you. But, I will share a few things.

I am shocked at the low number of people who willingly put down in writing their goal for the coming year in terms of giving. As a business person, I have a plan and set goals each year for my production. How is it not the same with your financial plan for giving to your church?

Why is it so hard to talk about money? I welcome an honest congregation who just spells it out and asks for help. It amazes me at how different faiths and different people react to this concept of giving.

We can love the Lord with all our hearts, all our souls and all our minds but if you are going to do this…you have to give.

How do you avoid stewardship sermons? You don’t go to church. But then you will be the worse for that decision.

It’s as simple as that.

Wind beneath my wings

318686_2498289210357_882944873_n

There is nothing quite like the wind blowing in your hair at a high rate of speed. I drive a convertible. It’s my secret (or not so secret) indulgence.

I was transporting my 5-year old granddaughter one day in my convertible Beetle with the top down. She was shaking her head back and forth as we rode through Orlando and the wind blew wildly about her downy hair. Lily elicited these prophetic words “Mimi, wouldn’t it be great if we could ride like this forever?”

Lily gets it. That feeling of riding free with a  sense of flying as the wind moves through your hair and the sun shines warmly upon your face. It’s a heady experience (no pun intended) and it’s joyful too.

God is like that to me. It’s the wind in my hair, the sun in my face and the feeling of lightness. The good news is that we can ride like that forever…as fast as we want.

Join me?

Veterans Day – Thou Shalt Love Thy Neighbor

daddy

“I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” John 13:34

Veteran’s Day 2014

My father didn’t start talking about his war experiences until late in his life. I think he didn’t want to burden us with difficult memories but eventually opened up and I’m so glad he did. What a testimony to his family of a life well lived.

My Dad was a POW in Nazi Germany for many years after his B-17 was shot down during a military raid. While I think this experience had a profound effect on him, I don’t think it changed him at the core.

My father loved people. My father loved his family. My father really loved Jesus.

Dad led by example and he told the story of walking through deep snow with the frail and aged Nazi guards who were too weak to carry their own weapons. So Dad and the other soldiers carried their guns. They were not required to do so, they did it to help.

I have always found this story to be one of the most striking of my father’s war memories. Dad’s faith in Jesus never wavered and even in the worst of circumstances, he would use an opportunity to share the love of Christ with ANYONE.

On this Veterans Day, I thank Dad for his courage. I thank Dad for his loving heart. I thank Dad for teaching me about Jesus. Dad said that he survived the war through his belief that Jesus was standing beside him and giving him the strength to return home. I believe this and I am grateful to God.

I am sure my Dad is not the first soldier to have Jesus hold his hand and he won’t be the last. I wish this were not so. If we could only truly love our neighbors…

Peace.

Tell me the old, old story…

IMG_4117

I love singing hymns in church. But, I truly love old hymns…the standards of our faith.

I was baptized in the Episcopal and Baptist churches but I was raised a Southern Baptist. However, I returned to the Anglican faith many years ago where I enjoy the smells, bells and liturgy of the more solemn high church. My son-in-law is a die-hard Baptist and will be till the Lord calls him home. I can respect that. We both have our convictions. We both enjoy our church “home”.

The one thing we do share without question is our love for hymns. It’s not just the old standards but also the hymns sung up to and including the more contemporary songs enjoyed by many churches.

It often goes back to our conviction about organized religion.

I have debated the merits of one “religion” over another with priests and pastors throughout the years. Some are convinced that their brand is the “one true church” and holds the promise for salvation. I disagree.

Here is what I believe: I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe especially in His word…”Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”. John 14:6

There is no one true church. There is only one truth and that is that Jesus is the way to salvation and grace. Whether you enjoy it in a formal high church or in a contemporary worship service is irrelevant. Whether you speak in tongues or you sit quietly without movement. It’s really all about Jesus.

Music simple serves as a portal to our souls and enhances our worship experience. That is one thing on which we can all agree.

 

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

Let me hide myself in Thee;

Let the water and the blood,

From Thy wounded side which flowed,

Be of sin the double cure;

Save from wrath and make me pure.

 

Not the labor of my hands

Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;

Could my zeal no respite know,

Could my tears forever flow,

All for sin could not atone;

Thou must save, and Thou alone.

 

Nothing in my hand I bring,

Simply to the cross I cling;

Naked, come to Thee for dress;

Helpless look to Thee for grace;

Foul, I to the fountain fly;

Wash me, Savior, or I die.

 

While I draw this fleeting breath,

When mine eyes shall close in death,

[originally When my eye-strings break in death]

When I soar to worlds unknown,

See Thee on Thy judgment throne,

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

Let me hide myself in Thee.

 

Rock of Ages

By: Augustus Toplady

1776