Splendid Serendipitous SPAIN

While I do my best to share blog posts that are a reasonable length, I am putting up a disclaimer regarding the one you are about to read: THIS IS A LONG POST! Hope you enjoy joining me on our recent tour through SPAIN!IMG_4396

On Wednesday, July 1st, we enjoyed a full day at sea on our ship, as well as our only “formal night” for dinner. As you can see, we opted for our gentlemen to be comfortable in no neckties and open collars!

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Jessica and Walker married on June 21, 2014.
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Scott and Leah married on March 29, 2014.

One of our favorite places to meet before dinner was the Lawn area on the back of the boat. The real, soft, green grass was beautiful and we enjoyed many moments here. The two pairs of newlyweds enjoy comfy chairs on the Lawn area of the ship.

At 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 2, 2015 our ship docked on the Spanish Island of Palma de Mallorca with plans to stay anchored for a full two days. On this first day in Spain, we took advantage of the SpaClub Port Pricing discount scheduling massages for all. Afterwards, four of us ventured  off the ship to check out our new spot. Donny, Jess, Walker and I found a good place to enjoy a cappuccino. Yum! On our second port day on the beautiful island of Palma de Mallorca, we decided to join a bike tour with James. Though is was definitely a hot day for three + hours of biking, we all enjoyed learning about the island’s history as we followed James and explored the area. [pullquote]To have courage for whatever comes in life-everything lies in that.” Saint Teresa of Avila, a prominent Spanish mystic, Roman Catholic Saint (1515-1582)[/pullquote]

The main memories we will carry with us of Palma de Mallorca is how this Balearic city is a backdrop of towering cathedrals, ancient castles, and a magnificent harbor with endless rows of boats and yachts.

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A Cup of Cappuccino on the Island of Palma de Mallorca in Spain
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A bike tour led by James, pictured here in front of The Cathedral, built in the 13th century. The Cathedral has picturesque stained glass windows and the world’s largest rose window.

Getting our larger pieces of luggage into the hallway outside our cabins by 11 p.m. was quite a feat, but we did it, and we were all looking with great anticipation for our disembarkment the following day. On Saturday, the 4th of July, 2015, our great big ship, the Equinox dropped the six of us off in Barcelona, Spain. As our driver met us just off the ship, looking at all of our luggage, our guide, Ona quipped, “Are you moving to Spain?” We laughed and Leah admitted she was an overpacker. Ona encouraged her by reminding us that Spain was very small compared to the U.S., and that with life, Leah would become more of a minimalist. There was much to see in the short time we would be in Barcelona, so we got moving once everything was loaded in the car. As we rode along, Ona began to share with us all about her beloved city. Barcelona occupies 1.7 million in this very compact, seaside city. The three main parts of the city are: inside the city walls, the modern city and the other parts. The original city walls, built in the 1300’s, were dismantled to build the modern city.

We were all surprised (including our driver and our guide, Ona) that the start of our Barcelona tour found crowds gaping up to the top of a very tall building. Stretching our own necks from inside the SUV, we soon made a shocking discovery: a naked man was taking selfies up atop this building! The traffic stopped as everyone waited to see if he would be “rescued”. Thankfully, he was, and we went on our way, laughing and laughing. What a funny way to start our first visit ever to this great city!

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Our first stop was the SI JOSEP LA BOQUERIA Market, and this market truly had everything imaginable available…fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats of every kind! Even COW tongue as pictured below! I don’t even want to know how one would prepare that for consumption! Wish I could ask Julia Child! There were some of the biggest tomatoes, strawberries, and whole fish for purchase. This was an amazing and busy place!

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The entrance to the biggest and busiest market I have ever seen!
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Seriously? Cow Tongue in Barcelona for sale at the SI JOSEP LA BOQUERIA Market

Ona soon left us for lunch at a sidewalk cafe.

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A simple Spanish addition to a meal. Crusty, fresh bread smeared with a ripe tomato, some olive oil and a bit of garlic. YUM!
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Most everyone ordered this delectable Spanish dish: Paella, for our lunch in Barcelona.
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Leah’s Paella Lunch in Barcelona, Spain
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Sangria and ice cold Spanish beer in Barcelona as we waited for our paella.
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New Friends in Barcelona, Spain. The girls, Lisa, in orange, Brunetta, center and Misty, right, all work for the St. Louis Board of Education in the Transportation Department. They enjoy their summers off with lots of traveling, spending 4th of July 2014 in Paris, France!

At lunch is where I met three gals from America, from St. Louis in fact, Walker and Jessica’s current hometown. It was fun meeting and chatting with Brunetta, Lisa, and Misty, who were sitting at the table right next to us enjoying their Spanish lunches.

After lunch, it was time for our appointment to visit the famous church in Barcelona.

The Sagrada Familia is Barcelona’s most famous symbol and certainly one of its most impressive sights. The church is such a massive size, so it is often referred to as a “cathedral”, but without a bishop’s seat. Pope Benedict XVI. inaugurated the Sagrada Familia on November 7, 2010. The church building was then raised to a basilica.

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The angels and the three wise men during the birth of Christ. “Wise men and women still seek Him.”
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Ona, our guide explains the most recent progression in the building of this famous structure. Having grown up in Barcelona, she has watched it grow throughout her lifetime.
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The Fruits of the Spirit as described in Galatians. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
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Mary, Joseph, and their child.
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Still under construction: the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
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The Sagrada Familia
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Construction began on the Sagrada Familia in 1882 and continues today. Barcelonians are hopeful to see this magnificent structure to its completion in the year 2026.

The construction for this church in the district Eixample began in 1882, and is supposed to be finished in 2026. From 1883 the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí took over the leadership of the works until his death in 1926, when he was stuck by a tram, carried to the hospital, and mistaken as a beggar. The building is significantly influenced by Gaudi. We were all enthralled by the bright-colored windows and the details in this amazing structure. We especially enjoyed seeing all of the many biblical stories we found hidden there.
With the expected completion in 2026, the construction is financed solely from donations and ticket money. Currently, 8 out of 12 about 100 meters tall bell towers are completed. The higher towers of the facade of the glory and the central dome with a height of over 170 meters will be built. Currently, part of the cloister and the apse are getting built.

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The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. Construction first began in 1882 and continues today in hopes to be completed by 2026. Overr 2.5 million people visit Sagrada Familia each year and the donation and ticket sales are what keeps this project alive.
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The S.E. Catedral Basilica

We also had the chance to see where the 1992 Olympics were held, just four years before the Olympics came to our beloved, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. In addition, on our busy and full day in Barcelona, we saw the Museu Picasso, the Sacrista De La Catedral, the S.E. Catedral, and an old Jewish Synogogue.

Originating in the 6th century, the Ancient Synagogue in the Serafad neighborhood is believed to be an old synagogue located in the center of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. This was one of the smallest and most fascinating places we visited with two rooms and many, many interesting artifacts. A nice trip in Jewish History, it has been described as one of the oldest synagogues in Europe. After many centuries of use for other purposes, the building re-opened as a synagogue and museum in 2002. No congregation prays regularly at the Sinagoga Major, but it is used for festive occasions.

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The Sinagoga Major, the oldest Jewish synagogue in Spain. Guides speak Spanish, English and Hebrew. This place is rich in Jewish history with many artifacts.

The Picasso Museum is a key reference for understanding the formative years of Pablo Picasso. The genius of the young artist is revealed through the 4,251 works that make up the permanent collection. Furthermore, the Picasso museum, opened in 1963, also reveals his deep relationship with Barcelona: an intimate, solid relationship that was shaped in his adolescence and youth, and continued until his death.The Picasso museum is very rich in regard to work from the formative years in the life of the artist; it is practically exhaustive up to the Blue Period. The Museum also houses an important representation of works from 1917, and the series Las Meninas (1957) as well as a comprehensive print collection. We thoroughly enjoyed our tour through this art museum!

Portrait d'un profil de femme  la manire de Picasso.
“un profile de femme a la manière de Picasso”, one of the multitudes of painting we discovered in the Museu Picasso. Picasso’s creativity knew no bounds. His art transformed the 20th century. His talents were first discovered at age 13. Later he went on to co-found Cubism.
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Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.”

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

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A view of the stunning city of Barcelona, Spain!

We ended our tour of this magnificent city with a drive up a mountain for an aerial view of the fabulous city of Barcelona, Spain.

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Scott’s King Crab dinner in Barcelona, Spain.
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Dinner in Barcelona, Spain

Our last evening in Europe, we walked to a quaint, local restaurant and enjoyed a delightful Spanish dinner there. Scott especially enjoyed his choice of King Crab! Our waiter brought a live crab to the table for Scott to “approve” before it was prepared in the kitchen. After dinner, we headed back to our hotel, Hotel Murmuri Barcelona to prepare for our long flight home the following morning. The family humored me one more time by donning these stars and stripes caps in the hotel, because it was, after all, THE FOURTH OF JULY!

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I want a faith that’s so alive it can be seen. I want a hope that cannot hide even when I am weak. I want a love that speaks the truth of what I believe.”

Building 429 “Set A Fire”

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The six of us will carry countless memories with us as we go forward in our life journey. One of my most treasured memories will be this: as we shared dinner on the ship, we joined hands and took turns saying grace before we started our meal. On one particular night, a waiter came up to our table after our blessing and told us he had rarely, if ever seen passengers on the ship stop and pray before their meal. He went on to tell us that he led a small group Bible Study on the ship with his fellow staff members. That was a priceless moment for us all.

This memory I have shared above makes me want to also share the lyrics and video in which I found the quote: “I want a faith that’s so alive…” so click here to watch: SET A FIRE!

Now closing the books on our European Adventure, I will share in my next post entitled Peace Of Thread, about a small early birthday gift Leah gave to me this past weekend.

In case you missed my last two posts on ITALY and FRANCE, click here and here to find them.

3 Things To Consider

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One of Dr. Rick Gray’s lasting legacy will be the way he treated all people with love and respect, regardless of their position. He was kind, friendly, and always smiling. Though his illness was challenging, he found great comfort in spending time with family and friends. Above all, he was committed to his family and made sacrifices in order to spend time with them.

Whether things are sailing smoothly or the bottom has dropped out, He is always trustworthy. You can count on the Almighty God to keep His everlasting Word.” Charles Stanely

Click on each reference below to read a few scripture verses that Rick asked the Pastor to share at his Celebration of Life Service held on March 26, 2015: Isaiah 26:3, Psalm 46:10, and John 14:27.

Click here to see a brief You Tube video explaining the story behind the song, It Is Well With My Soul. Thom Gray, Rick’s brother  sang this familiar song so beautifully at his brother’s service yesterday.

A book that has helped me so much when I have experienced grief and loss is A Grace Disguised: How The Soul Grows Through Loss, By, Dr. Gerald L. Sittser. You may want to have a copy sent to you by clicking here.

2014 was definitely a whirlwind year for us. This time last year, we were making plans to attend Scott and Leah’s Rehearsal Dinner, 6 weeks from our son’s college graduation day, and only 11 weeks away from Walker and Jessica’s wedding day. We also celebrated the births of 6 new great nieces and nephews in 2014!

With Wedding and Graduation season upon us once again, these memorable occasions cause us to consider more than ever, the benefits and blessings of our days, along with the rapidity of LIFE! Weddings and graduations mixed with new babies…picture after glorious picture of how quickly these little ones are flourishing, really do cause us to ponder the gifts in our lives.

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New Mommy, Kelly, with Layton Marie, born 11/28/14. Layton is the granddaughter of Debbie and Russell who I went to Druid Hills High School with.    : )
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Layton, now four months old and ready for the beach.
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OUR Georgia Girl: Layton Marie, born 11/28/14.

Adding recent passings of some very important people in our journey, along with Celebration of Life services, causes even more musing. This reminds me of a quote I heard at Walker’s graduation commencement last year, giving us three things to consider.

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Our Men: Scott, our son-in-law, DAD, and Walker, our  son. Love Them!

Graduations are like weddings and funerals because they make us think of three things:

1-Where we’ve been.

2-Where we are today.

3-Where we are going.”

David Iglesias-Commencement Address May 2014 Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois

Our community celebrated the life of one of our physicians yesterday and hundreds gathered at North Metro Church here in Marietta, Georgia to pay tribute to a life well lived. Dr. Rick Gray, a local Oncologist, just barely age 59, passed away peacefully on March 23, 2015 with his family at his bedside from complications of bladder cancer. A few remarks that were shared at Dr. Gray’s service coincide with the above three things:

~Our grief speaks to how much the deceased was loved.

~How are you stewarding this gift called YOU?

~The intersections of our lives have connected us with this much loved deceased one.

~The more we invest in a deep friendship, the sweeter it becomes.

~And finally, a life lesson his Dad taught him, which Michael Gray, Rick’s oldest son, bravely shared with the congregation: “Life is sweeter when we put aside fear and doubt, replacing it with LOVE.”

All of this leaves behind a question for you and for me:

“As I walk through my days, how am I being a  strong steward of this gift

called ‘YOU’ and ‘ME’?”

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Click here for lyrics to the song shared by Rick’s brother.

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What Is A Freedom Bag?

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Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.

Mother Teresa

As a mother, I cannot quit thinking about the issue of human sex trafficking and I know, I just know, that there is something we can do to have a direct impact on this horrific issue. That is just how I roll these days. Each one, reach one, one day at a time. Learn, then listen for ways one can make a difference.Tea by the lake

After attending the Justice Conference in Atlanta on January 31, 2015, I decided one way we could positively encourage and help some victims of this crime is to put together Freedom Bags that are being collected by Operation Liberate. This is a huge undertaking, but my Mama taught me to dream big, so I am asking for as many of you as possible to come on board to join me in this huge project. more about Operation Liberate: “Doing What Is Required”, click here.

Since it may cost an estimated $150.00 to buy the bag and all O.L. is expecting to have included in each bag, this could be a great joint project between 2-4 girlfriends, mothers & daughters, a small group Bible Study, a Book Club, a Tennis Team, the ideas of ways to achieve this goal are limitless!!!!

Operation Liberate helps rescue women and girls with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They want to be able to bless each of these precious ones with a unique bag created with love and prayers to encourage these victims on their first step to recovery. Because of an upcoming large-scale rescue, Operation Liberate is trying to collect as many Freedom Bags as possible by March 15th.

If you are “IN,” please let me know, so that I can count you as a “YES.” Do not hesitate to contact me with your questions.

We are on a tight schedule as these bags need to be pulled together between now and my goal date of Thursday, March 5th.

The deadline for Operation Liberate is March 15th.

PLEASE SEE BELOW THE INFORMATION THAT WAS SENT OUT BY OPERATION LIBERATE:

“Thank you for your interest in helping Operation Liberate serve the many women and girls that the Lord is going to free in 2015!”  To give each girl a special, one-of-a-kind Freedom Bag, please only fill your bag with NEW, unused items. If you are unable to pack an entire back yourself, consider partnering with your small group or church.

As you assemble your bag, please pray over the girl who will receive it – she’ll be so encouraged to know that she was prayed for. If you have questions or would like to get others involved, email Rachel at operationliberate7@gmail.com. Thank you for sharing Jesus’ love with these precious ones!

Instructions for Packing a Freedom Bag – PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

Please select a NEW feminine tote, duffel bag, or backpack that is sturdy and roomy enough to serve as an overnight/weekend bag. Heavier items should go in the bottom. Clothing and blankets should be neatly folded. For smaller bags, clothing and blankets may fit better rolled. Toiletries that might leak should be packed in Ziploc bags. Utilize any pockets for smaller items, like lip balm or travel-size deodorant. Pack anything breakable, like sunglasses, last.

Print the following information on an index card and pin to the outside of the bag:

Woman (17+), teen (13-17), or child (under 13) & clothing size (XS, S, M, L, not numeric sizes)

If you’d like, sign the card “Hand-packed with love by [your first name]” or “With love from [church or ministry]”

Once your bag is assembled, please contact Rachel at operationliberate7@gmail.com to arrange a time for it to be dropped at Midtown Church BY MARCH 15th.

Fill your bag with the following NEW items

Toiletries:

Remember this is a gift intended to show the love of Christ, so treat it like you would a care package for your own child or best friend in their first semester away at college. PLEASE ONLY PACK FULL-SIZE TOILETRIES to guarantee that each survivor receives similar items.

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, & floss
  • Shampoo & conditioner
  • Gentle face wash
  • Body wash
  • Deodorant
  • Chapstick
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hair brush or comb
  • Feminine pads & tampons
  • Travel pack of Kleenex
  • Hard candy or gum

Clothing:

Please ensure that all items in your bag are the same size (small, size 2/4, etc. While we need mostly xs, s and medium, there is also a need for Large.)

  • Sweatpants
  • Sweatshirt or thermal tee
  • 1-2 pairs of socks
  • 1 pack of panties

Special touches:

PLEASE PLACE YOUR NOTE IN AN OUTSIDE POCKET OF THE BAG, as each note must be reviewed before being given to a survivor.

Every bag will include the Life Recovery Bible, which we believe is the most important element of the Freedom Bag. If you would like to cover the cost of the Bible for your bag, PLEASE INCLUDE A CHECK FOR $10 MADE OUT TO MIDTOWN CHURCH. YOUR CHECK SHOULD BE PLACED IN THE SAME POCKET AS YOUR NOTE.

  • Handwritten letter or prayer
  • Journal
  • Pens

Fun items:

Please include three or more of the following so each girl feels special and loved:

  • Nail polish
  • Lip gloss
  • Cross necklace
  • Small stuffed animal
  • Lightweight scarf
  • Sunglasses
  • Hair ties, clips, etc.
  • Colored pencils & sketchbook
  • Coloring book & crayons (can be great therapy even for adult women)
  • Slippers
  • Small, soft blanket or throw
  • Travel-size pillow
Click this link for a printable list for Freedom Bag Instructions.
If you have made it to the end of this long list of needs, I hope that means you have decided to make a difference in just one young hurting woman’s life.
Contact me today, and remember, this can be accomplished with a group if just one person will step up agreeing to be in charge of each bag, delegating needs to the rest of the group.
I can meet you anywhere in Metro Atlanta to pick up your Freedom Bag.

 Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”Starfish on the beach

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said,

“It made a difference to that one!”

adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)

Tough Circumstances Hold onto the Power

IMG_0694It’s December fifth which means that Christmas Day will be here in just twenty short days. Now that truth will get you running to the 4-7-8 breathing exercise, won’t it!?!

Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown again into instant flame by an encounter with another human being. Dr. Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) a German theologian, organist, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary

I have spoken with three close girlfriends in the past 24 hours and we have talked through personal issues. What great comfort and therapy it is to have a girlfriend, a heart friend, that you know you can trust with your deepest concerns! How much lighter the burden is when shared! As we bantered back and forth, these friends and I, it was confirmed to me once again how hard this life is. In fact, the first line in the book, The Road Less Traveled: LIFE IS DIFFICULT.

Even though the circumstances I discussed with each of these friends was very different, the bottom line was the same…LIFE  can deal you some pretty tough cards. And believe me, I know. After 4 short months of being very ill in 2006, my Mama died of cancer and I still recall easily the physical ache in my heart following her passing.

Along with getting ready for Christmas, many I know are dealing with difficult and tragic circumstances…a recent death of a kind, generous friend named Jimmy, age 55, from my high school & college…two young adult sisters with their Dad, preparing for their Christmas celebration without Mom, Laura, our dear friend who was in our small Bible Study group and passed with breast cancer in May 2014…dear friends, a couple, dealing with the repercussions of a very serious illness earlier this year…my friend and author, Echo, who lost her musically gifted Dad just one day ago…and a college friend, Delores’ husband dealing with a scary medical situation which will require a huge lifestyle change. Many others that we know and love are dealing with other trying circumstances related to their health. The holiday season is also a time of remembering those who are no longer with us.  This may be the first Christmas you are spending without someone who has passed on. This will be my second Christmas with both of my parents gone. No matter how many Christmas seasons go by, we will always miss our peeps and we’ll continually recall sweet memories in our hearts of those who have gone on ahead of us, many at a young age and much sooner than we would have chosen.

Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. Psalm 55:22a NLT

Thank goodness there is so much HOPE wrapped up in The Christmas Story!

Many times, how we play the cards life deals us determines how the future unfolds. However, more likely, we will have times that we just have to let go and accept things as they are.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19

My Mama raised six children and as we grew into adults, I remember her saying that she was not “worried” about a particular situation, but that she was definitely “concerned.” She and Daddy would also use the words, “guarded optimism” often. I wrote a post about this called, Don’t Borrow Trouble From Tomorrow.

Maybe this was their way of caring, without carrying the burden that was in their hearts. This reminds me of the Serenity Prayer that I believe is vital as we walk through our days:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebuhr, American theologian (1892-1971)

One thing that I do know is that the power that is in God is a power I would not want to live without. Recently, our community had a rough rainstorm and we lost all electrical power in our home for more than three hours. As I meandered through our home in candlelight, I would flip a switch and receive no light because of the outage.

Once our power was restored, I began to think what life would be like without power…and worse, what if we had no Divine Creator to turn to, to pray to. Where would we be?

I ask for not a lighter burden, but for a broader shoulder. a Jewish Proverb

All three of my heart friends I mentioned here at the beginning of this post seek God in their journey and the Word promises that when we seek Him, we will find Him. Let’s seek Him, always, in good times, mundane times, and tragic times.

The Word promises that when we seek our Creator, we will find him, every time. Won’t you reach out to him today

There is much power in seeking and finding the Living God and we can be assured that there will never be a power outage with Him.

There is NO EXPIRATION DATE With Our God

Though these events took place nearly eight years ago in our home, the truth remains forever.

Last night, my husband and I enjoyed homemade apple cobbler with spray whipped cream. Unfortunately we were out of vanilla ice cream which eliminated the chance for ala mode! This after dinner delicacy was actually so good that I decided to surprise our son with the same treat. He was holed up in his room, so I went ahead and fixed this dessert without even asking him if he wanted it.
When I had it all ready, with whipped cream, sprinkled cinnamon and sugar, and 3 musketeers chocolate syrup, I called him down.

He was very pleased when he first arrived in the kitchen…then upon his initial observation, he asked about the date on the syrup.
I responded with the truth: “I have no idea what the date on that syrup is.”
Ok, now, don’t be shocked, but he decided to check the date and it was May of 2005…I am not kidding!!! ( I wish I was!) Needless to say, it went straight in the trash and he fixed himself a new dessert!
WE had some good laughs about dates on products that are in our ten year old home and how we might want to check them out a little more often and a little more carefully in the future…
Soon, our son was checking the dates on some of our other things…the milk had a good date, the yogurt was okay, too.

Later, just before retiring for the night, our son and I started talking about other “expirations”, like letting too much time go by before we open the Word.
If we are not careful, we wait too long to go to the Word for the answers to the big questions that we have in our lives. Just because we do not take the time to look in that direction, does not mean the answers are not there. If we are not careful, our days go by and we do not reap the benefits and the strength that it is in the Word for each of us to grab a hold of. As 50 something women, we realize more than ever that our lives on this earth have an “expiration date”. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 reminds us: “There is a time for everything, and everything on earth has its special season. There is a time to be born and a time to die.”

So, maybe you want to go check the dates of some of the products you have in your refrigerator, and perhaps you want to take stock in the date of the last time you delved into the Word as well.

Do something today that you have been putting off because we are not promised tomorrow. Only God knows the number of our days and He’s not telling us that number.

“All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of the Lord stands forever.”
1 Peter 1:24-25

The Good News is that once we are His, considering God and His Word, there is NO EXPIRATION DATE!

A SOJOURNER Life Is A journey

“You only live once-but if you work it right, once is enough.” Joe F. Lewis

You and I, we are sojourners on this earth. The Webster’s dictionary defines a sojourner as follows:

“…one who is having a brief, temporary stay; a brief residence”

WE are sojourners on this earth because this earth is not our home.

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14

Last night, as I worked for several hours organizing my thoughts, my story, in anticipation of sharing with the recovering ladies at the Women’s Extension Center, it quickly became apparent to me how far God has brought me in my life.
HOW ENCOURAGING!!! My main prayer has become two words: “Thank You.”
As a 50 something woman, (or any age woman!) I believe it is positively cathartic, very freeing, to think through, and even possibly write down your story, your personal testimony.
As I have expressed before, I have kept a journal for more than 20 years.
This simple tool has so often aided me in working through issues that have burdened my heart in my day-to-day life.
If you are not sure how to get started, try setting a timer for 10-20 minutes and just WRITE, WRITE, WRITE until the timer chimes…or TYPE, TYPE, TYPE…whichever is most comfortable for you.
In sharing with these women, I came up with the following verses to guide me:

Matthew 6:26-27
Lamentations 3:22-23
Galatians 5:1

“If you won’t be better tomorrow than you were today, then what do you need tomorrow for?” Rabbi Hahman of Bratslay

Today, I encourage you to consider yourself as a sojourner as you contemplate your life journey. How far have you come?