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


                                                                 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Serenade to Spring

Spring has arrived here,giving us beautiful days; I have even shed two of my usual three layers of clothing. Early morning, warm, sun-filled walks are more frequent and enjoyable, now. I don't have to force myself to bundle up to walk in the cold.  Oh, we're still having cold days, like today's 46 degrees, but earlier this week it topped 80 degrees and I came out of hibernation
.

I purchased a new camera lens last week, trading in three bulky lens, for one Tamron 18-270mm lens. Along with my Sony Cyber-shot 50x optical zoom, I'm set to capture  nature's colors as I walk
  to the sounds, sights and smells of yet another grace upon grace gift of spring.




 Mourning doves are back, making their nest in the same corner porch log site as last year. Welcome back!

This lovely mama keeps her two eggs warm all night and during part of the day, while her mate keeps watch from a distance, and sits on the eggs during the day so mama can "take a break".
I've read that toward the end of 14 days, both parents incubate the eggs for added warmth before hatching.
The chicks are first fed "pigeon milk" from the parent's crop.
About 14 days after hatching, the parents leave the nest, but, as observed last year, they don't go far, ever watchful over their young.

Parents watching from the roof
















When the chicks become hungry, one by one, they venture on their first solo flight onto our porch.
Last year,  I spent hours taking pictures of them roaming the porch, sitting together on a table, even napping on my garden shoes.
These young doves would sit for hours in the same spot close to the porch foundation, waiting for their parents to return and feed them.
Parents feed their young for two weeks after leaving the nest.

 All summer long, I would see them perched on a tree limb with a parent, or gathering ground seeds among the flowers and around the bird feeder.

Such summer joy they afforded me!
And I'm blessed to click and journal yet another 
Serenade to Spring!

Occupied!


My favorites!   Lilies abound in my gardens.

Yellow heads popping up shouts of, "Spring has arrived!"


Monday, April 25, 2016

Are You Out There, God?


Tonight, after having our dinner on the deck, enjoying the beauty of the evening, I began to just gaze at the different patterns of clouds, and movement in the sky as the sun set with streaks of light behind the clouds.
Funny how one thing will remind you of another. The night reminded me of 25 years ago,this July, when my Father died suddenly; I would spend hours looking at the clouds; somehow, it brought me comfort for many weeks afterwards.I also know that God's presence in my life, led me through this difficult time.
Three weeks later, I had a miscarriage. This, too, I thought about tonight, and how God's presence led me through yet another difficult, dark time. Life can be so hard, so discouraging, and without faith in God and the power of His love through His Son, Jesus Christ; life is just hard to live.

I read a blog post this past week that I'd like to share with you.

                           Seven Prayers For When You Feel Discouraged:
1. That God will make His presence known.

2. That you will stand firm in the faith.

3. That God will bring people in your life who will encourage you.

4. That you will shine your light well, even when times are tough.

5. That God would use the hard situations for your good and for His glory.

6. That God Himself would encourage your spirit through His Word.

7. That you would be unbeaten by this trial.

                                            from author Lindsey Bell.
                                            Check out full post at  DoNotDepart.com

God is there for you, friend, during your hard times and through discouragement.
Lift your voice in prayer; He's always listening.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Compassion Sunday, Coming Soon!




http://compassionsunday.com/video/    Please view this video about Compassion Sunday.
 Is the Lord touching your heart to sponsor a child?

www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/default.htm
 Click on this link to see the children waiting, maybe even waiting for you to sponsor them in  Jesus' name.


April 24th is Compassion Sunday for which I am very excited! I am blessed to be able to share with my church family several children, world-wide, in need a a sponsor. I anxiously await my child sponsorship packets arriving this week.
My friends, I ask for your prayers for this endeavor that all the children packets sent to me will find a loving family from my church to sponsor them out of poverty.
God bless you and your family, and thank you for praying!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

"Suddenly There Was Calm"



                                       Suddenly, there was calm
                                        Peace
                                        came as suddenly today
                                        as the storm came
                                        a day ago.
                                        My soul was drenched
                                        in wind and rain
                                        frozen in fear
                                        that fell like snow.
                                        Then all was still.
                                        Had someone prayed?
                                        I do not know.                 by Ruth Bell Graham


Fear, anxiety, worry, heavy storms besiege us all at times, often confronting our daily existence.
Jesus said it would be so..
"In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart ; I have overcome the world." 
John 16:33

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."  John 14:27

These past several days, my heart has been in prayer, instead of sleepless nights or endless worry about our world, our country, our families, our churches, our relationship, and my friends who take time to be with me through these posts.  The presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers,
knows our inward groanings.
" Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 
And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." 
Romans 8:26-27

 My friend, we have peace with God through faith.
" Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:1-5

Who or what  is heavy on your heart, friend?  Lift it up in prayer and let Christ's peace reign in your heart, today.
  "The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of  God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Philippians 4:4-8
Have you noticed the beauty and calmness of  the ocean after a storm?

This week marks my fourth year with Global Media Outreach, sharing the Gospel with seekers worldwide; sharing with each how they can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I am approaching 950 contacts who have heard the Gospel at

www.godlife.com

I praise God for this honor as another grace upon grace.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hope is Best When Shared




Have you seen all the new coloring books in craft stores for your time of recreation, relaxation, inspiration, or just sheer enjoyment? A wide variety of colored pencils and on-line videos to teach the various pencil techniques are available. I know- I use them to my enrichment and learning of a new craft.
Were you like me? In my youth, I treasured a new coloring book and new Crayola crayons and my sister and I would seek a quiet spot in our yard to envision a world of color on our art creations. Fun days, cherished memories!
Lately, I have been open to the world of watercolor, peaked by the use of my mother-in-law's paints which were given to me. Multiple online artists share their talent and special techniques readily, delighted to express their own love of watercolor in teaching others. I have watched an abundance of videos, having my favorite teacher, Alan Owen, lure me into believing I too can paint.
To this I aspire in my new hobby of watercolor, watercolor pencils and wax colored pencils.
Have you tried it? So relaxing! I often  listen to a book being read, listen to chapters of the Bible or memorize my Scripture passages as I work, thus keeping both sides of my brain very busy!

Recently, this beautiful book for reflection , Whatever is Lovely, by Waterbrook Press, was given to me as a gift by someone very special, who knows my taste very well.
 As I  am finishing this picture,  I reflect upon this past Tuesday, the 5th, when I had asked some friends to join me at a restaurant in honor of  the memory of our mutual friend, my prayer partner of many years, who would have been 92 on that day. She died suddenly, but not unprepared; for she was waiting to meet her Lord and Savior every day; her life was a testimony of her love for Jesus and her desire to spend eternity with Him.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.  1 John 4:18
My dear friend and nightly prayer partner, who lived alone, but yet, not alone because her Savior was always with her, in life and in death, always with her, and then to take her home.

So six of her friends; a couple with whom she went to dinner with each Friday, two women who took her to her doctor appointments, and two prayer partners, celebrated her life with laughter, tears,reminiscing,  and sharing our own hope of seeing our dear friend again in the Kingdom of heaven, because of our love for Jesus Christ as our own Savior and Lord.

"And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life."
                                                                               1 John 5:12-13

Do you know Him, friend?  You can have this peace that passes all understanding .godlife.com

"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."    Philippians 4:7


                                                   Hope is best when shared. 
 Have you been following Rory as he journals his days without "his bride", Joey.  He was so faithful, even during difficult days to share the hope that Joey had in her Savior, Jesus, and her journey to her eternal home in heaven.
Now, Rory is raising their daughter, Indy, and, again, shares their journey of beginning in a new school for their daughter at  High Hopes, a school that Joey, herself wanted for her daughter to attend.              thislifeilive.com

This post, called, high hopes, is found for March 25th. Be sure to watch the video filmed at High Hopes School; it will bring tears of hope to your eyes.


Hope of spring promises, soon!