Saturday, May 21, 2016

And So Go My Days...

Well, it's raining on this Saturday afternoon, so plans to work in my flower beds have been hampered.
Whenever it rains on a Saturday, I always feel sad for those with big plans, like a wedding or such.
So plan B for me is working at home on various indoor projects- like cleaning, maybe.

How is your day going? Your week?
I haven't shared "happenings"on this blog in awhile, so I'll start with an update from our church Compassion Sunday results.
Yeah! Several children now have a sponsor, releasing them out of poverty in Jesus' name.
Two other Compassion sponsors and I gave a short presentation about the joy of sponsorship and how it affects not only a child but the child's family as well.
We are so blessed to be able to sponsor another child also. I wish I could have been with her and her family, in Rwanda, when they were told of their new sponsorship!
I thank the Lord for this precious child of His that we are privileged to help with her education, medical care, clothing, food for the family, and most especially, her spiritual growth in the Compassion program.
On this rainy day, letter writing  to all 7 children is planned.

On a sunny Saturday, earlier this month, we celebrated Mothers, Daughters and Friends Luncheon at our church. Each table presented a theme and ours was Lilacs and Roses. It was a delightful time sharing with women at our table, enjoying soup and salad buffet, and cheese cake for dessert.

Wondering what has happened with our clutch of young mourning doves? Both squabs made their solo flight and stayed close to our home porch before venturing out into the garden or trees close by.

 Mother mourning dove has reclaimed her nest high among the porch logs,  contentedly awaiting
another clutch, soon.

This past Sunday, after church, we were invited to my husband's 93 year old aunt's home for dinner with her family. I had made a strawberry-rhubarb pie which was gone quickly!
I can remember as a child, this was always a part of Sunday afternoons-visiting with family, and grandparents.
Regrettably, it seems we have lost this part of family life with busy schedules.
I hope to plan more Sunday visits this summer with family and friends- life is so very short.

Speaking of time going by ... It has been one year since our daughter was married. Now, she has a new job and home, and days go by ever so quickly.

 "So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three;
but the greatest of these is love."  1 Corinthians 13:13

Our cat, Sassie, turned 20 years old on the 20th of May! That's 97 human years old!
No wonder she sleeps most of the time, can't hear very well, eats little, walks slowly, but enjoys following me wherever I go in the house, and finds her place on my lap during computer time, like now.

My days often include volunteering with a Hospice Care Center and weekly care of  3 elderly residents in a home setting for a few hours. We read the Bible, listen to stories, make colored pencil drawings as one of the resident's was an artist with his paintings hung in his room.
 Together,enjoying part of our days together, cherishing the moments.

This week, also, we visited our Aunt, now on hospice care in a nursing home,an hour and half away, where her husband died a month ago. We prayed with her, and spoke of her reunion with her husband in heaven, soon, as they both have put their faith in Jesus Christ. Their days soon coming to an end in this short life, of 90 years and 89 years, and  into an eternity where there will be no more suffering, disease, pain and tears.

"Let not your hears be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.
In My Father's house are many rooms. If  it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also...
I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
          from God's Word, Gospel of John 14:1-3,6
Do you have this assurance of Eternal Life, friend?

It was a sunny morning when we went to visit our Aunt; a day we had also planned to plant flowers at my husband's parents' grave site, and plant a peony bush, one of Mimi's favorite flowers along with irises.

This we did on a bright, sunny spring day in remembrance.
 "So teach us to number our days
        that we may get a heart of wisdom."
                                               from a Prayer of Moses, Psalm 90:12 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Divine Mercies

                                                           Divine Mercies
Thou Eternal God,
Thine is surpassing greatness, unspeakable
          goodness, super-abundant grace;
I can as soon count the sands of ocean's 'lip'
as number Thy favours toward me;
I know but a part, but that part exceeds all praise.
I thank Thee for personal mercies,
           a measure of health, preservation of body,
           comforts of house and home, sufficiency of food
               and clothing,
           continuance of mental powers,
           my family, their mutual help and support,
               the delights of domestic harmony and peace,
               the seats now filled that might have been vacant,
           my country, church, Bible, faith.
But, O, how I mourn my sin, ingratitude, vileness,
      the days that add to my guilt,
      the scenes that witness my offending tongue;
All things in heaven, earth, around, within, without, condemn me-
       the sun which sees my misdeeds,
       the darkness which is light to Thee,
       the cruel accuser who justly charges me,
       Thy countenance which scans my secret sins,
       Thy righteous law, Thy holy Word,
       my sin-soiled conscience, my private and public life,
       my neighbours, myself-
         all write dark things against me.
I deny them not, frame no excuse, but confess,
       'Father, I have sinned':
Yet still I live, and fly repenting to Thy outstretched arms;
        Thou wilt not cast me off, for Jesus brings me near,
        Thou wilt not condemn me, for He died in my stead,
        Thou wilt not mark my mountain of sin, for He has leveled all,
        and His beauty covers all my deformities.
O my God, I bid farewell to sin by clinging to His cross,
    hiding in His wounds, and sheltering in His side.

                   from The Valley of Vision; Puritan Prayers and Devotions

Friend, if this day is hard for you; take it to Him in prayer.

                                       The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
                                       His mercies never come to an end;
                                       they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.
                                       "The Lord is my portion," says my soul,
                                  "therefore I will hope in Him."          Lamentation 3:22-24

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Reflections on Mother's Day

It was a beautiful Mother's Day! Over the past few days, I've seen my four children, now all adults, and have been blessed in many ways by their words of love and gift of their presence in my life.

Mother's Day can be and is very painful for many mothers, and women who desire to be mothers, yet are not; mothers whose child is no longer here, or estranged, or just silent in a mother's life; so many reasons why Mother's Day can  and is filled with deep sorrow and pain.

Yet, God understands and is with the brokenhearted, and with mothers crushed with pain.
I feel for you, this day, and in prayer have asked God to touch your hearts with His healing balm, wherever you are in this world.

In years past, I have felt the pain of rejection from my own Mother, who chose not to talk to me for many years. Those Mother's Day remembrances are hard.
As my brothers and sisters and I grew up, we had joy-filled, fun days, felt the love of our Mother in so many selfless ways. I remember the hot cookies she would have ready for us after our walk home from school. I can still feel her love for us in those days.
On our dining room table,today, I have lilacs and dogwood blossoms as a reminder of my childhood days when the scent of lilacs would fill our childhood spring days.

But as we got older, pursuing jobs,or for me and my sister going away to nursing school, family life changed; divorce came after 30 years of marriage- changing all of our lives.
 Oh, we are all so broken, living in a world of broken people.

Yet, as always, God understands our brokenness, as He is our loving Father, who sent His Son to die in this broken world of pain and sorrow, for our sins, that we could never pay the price for -only a sinless Savior could reconcile us to the Father.

We can't go back and change our past, but we can look to this day as a new beginning of trusting our Father God to guide us, lead us, comfort us in our sorrows, and give us a peace beyond understanding.
To those in Christ Jesus, who have surrendered their life to Him, sought forgiveness of their sins, believe He died for them, and now are born again to a new and living hope; there is an eternity
of heaven in the presence of God awaiting at the end of this brokenness.

" He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and  death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore,
for the former things have passed away."
And He who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new."
                                                                               Revelation 21:4-5

Thursday, May 5, 2016

2016 National Day of Prayer

from National Day of Prayer

2016 National Day of Prayer theme:
"Cry aloud: do not hold back;
lift up your voice like a trumpet... Isaiah 58:1

"If My people who are called by My name
humble themselves,
and pray
and seek My face
and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven
and will forgive their sin
and heal their land."  2 Chronicles 7:14

Friends, this is call for each of us to be in prayer daily for our Nation, that in many ways has turned away from God. We need to be on our knees in prayer;
to humble ourselves
to pray
to seek God's face
and turn from our wicked ways.

Let it begin with me, Lord!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Signs of Spring

Today, both mourning dove parents, often called turtle doves, were giving their porch nest extra  warmth, a sure indication that two baby doves, called squabs, would hatch soon;
 and that they did, this  afternoon.
Look closely to see them! This mother is very patient with me as I try to capture a picture of her new arrivals, while balancing on a chair.
                                  Don't underestimate 
                                     Every pleasant little thing
                                      Like a spoonful of brownie batter
                                         Or the bird sounds in spring.

                                      And if you notice all of them,
                                       Then joy is what you've got,
                                        Because a little plus a
                                        Little plus a little is a lot.
                                                                                                  written by Sari Margolis                                                                                            
                    "The flowers appear on the earth,
                          the time of singing has come,
                      and the voice of the turtledove
                     is heard in our land."      Song of Solomon 2:12

Ever watchful parent

Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Lasting Friendship

My friend Yang captured this idyllic, yet rustic countryside scene

               "True friendship is not about being inseparable,
                    it is being separated and nothing changes."

                                                                   It has been 8 years, my, that long ago, since my first visit  to China with e-3 Partners on a mission trip. We met many friendly, very hospitable Chinese, who were always so ready to invite us to their homes for dinner, tea, and delightful conversation.
  Walking part of the Great Wall of China is just one of the treasured memories I carry in my heart.

Xiamen University

Now, I have been blessed to be a part of e-friendship for several years, teaching English to Chinese contacts. One of my contacts is now in this country studying at a university. We keep in touch and she has spent time with us last spring.

I am truly blessed with my present "students",
Nancy and Yang, as our friendship grows deeper with each passing session via Skype. We have been corresponding for over a year, with frequent WeChat communication and sharing pictures.

Thus, all these pictures,(except the above five), were sent to me from Nancy and Yang,(they have given me permission to share), from their hometowns, from sites around their home now in Nanjing and their recent trip to  Xiamen;

"the most beautiful city by the sea," as Yang tells me.

My friends sent me these beautiful spring flower pictures, from a botanical park close to their home, where they walked on an early April weekend, when we were having snow here.
It brightened my day and gave me hope for our own spring flowers.

sights from Nancy's hometown

Typical table preparation of foods for guests

"I can't even imagine where I would be today were it not for that handful of friends who have given me a heart full of joy.
Let's face it, friends make life a lot more fun."
Charles R.Swindoll
     It's my joy to share with you a small vista of another culture enhanced for me by the                           friendship of Nancy and Yang, in a land not so far away- at least it seems that way when we share our lives, together.

One day,(it's on my bucket list), I plan, God willing, to visit my friends in China, to see these sights, taste these foods together in laughter and deep friendship.

"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."\           
                                                                           1 Thessalonians 5:11