Monday, September 19, 2016

It's All In The Presentation



A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children,...Proverbs 13:22 NIV
I love when my husband gives me flowers.  He trained our children to do so and now he is training our grandchildren.  Wildflowers are the best when one like this is the presenter!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Happy Are We

Blessed are the poor in spirit 
 for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:3 

I don't know why I took this picture...probably because our backyard looked pretty in the fog in the evening.  As I look at it, I'm inpressed by the blessings we have.  We're not rich people by America's standard but we feel very wealthy.  

I feel particularly blessed today.  We kept three of our grandchildren overnight, something we try to do a couple of times a month, and having them here is a joy.  The fourth child is not ready to stay overnight yet but we're getting there.  He stays long enough to eat supper, play and get a bath.  It gives Mom and Dad a few hours together until they pick him up...ready for bed. 

We will see four more grandchildren this week and we look forward to that so much.  We don't get to see them very much...only two or three times a year so our visit is special.  Last week we visited our other seven grandchildren to celebrate a high school graduation.  We love to celebrate!

In reading Matthew 5 today...The Beatitudes. I realize that we are truly given these gifts by God...A little home, a nice yard, a place to store the machines that make us money, a few swings and a loving family.  What more could we want here on earth?  God is good and we are very much aware of our blessings.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Flowing From The Heart

Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
Proverbs 4:23 ESV

 For out of the abundance of the heart 
the mouth speaks.
Matthew 12:34 NKJV
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
Psalm 119:11 NKJV
(Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 
by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.)

I purchased this 1800's Bible and love looking at the well-used and worn pages that someone had read and loved.  They spent time in God's Word and the cover and pages show it.  The book is falling apart but the words are still there with loads of meaning.

How spent is your Bible?

"Today we don't even need one.  
We have The Bible App." 
Wow, just saying that makes me cringe.
Yes, I'm from the old school
but I try to live in this modern world by using what the younger generation uses. I do have the app, 
but somehow, it is not the same as holding the printed Word of God in my hands and reading the words I have underlined through the years.  Those words have meant something to me in times of need, in times of spiritual despair, in times of searching for God's presence.

Just having God's Holy Word in my hand is not the same as having it in my heart.  Life has meaning when God's Word enters my brain in my time of need.  I don't memorize well so I have to renew my memory by reading scripture again and again, by revisiting those underlined passages and reading them in context, by seeking God's will in those words as I turn the pages.

In times of sorrow, disappointment or despair, gladness, excitement or celebration...I remember that God is in my heart and flows out of it as I follow His calling.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Waiting Quietly

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly...
Lamentations 3:25-26

Spring has been of the best ever with more flowering trees and profuse roses than I can remember --- Breathtaking!

but in reality, it has been awful.

Two months ago I got sick with a three-day cold-like virus with a low-grade fever and the next day my left ear went almost completely deaf.  It was Thursday, Sunday was just around the corner and Holy Week with its rehearsals and services was looming.
I expected it to last a short time but it has lingered through two rounds of antibiotics, a month of antihistamine and cortisone nose sprays and four doctors' visits with zero results.

Deafness.  This is quite a disability to a musician and I know three others in the music paths I walk that had EXACTLY the same thing.  What gives?  It has been a challenge playing when I couldn't hear myself.  Two times I could not play with the choir in the service because I couldn't hear if I was too loud or too soft.  I don't put myself on the same musical plane as Beethoven but I can definitely associate with his frustration at being deaf and having to perform, rehearse and teach music.
  I'm planning to retire from playing this summer and am thinking I may as well do it now.  I don't feel very effective.  At least this week I feel better physically!
I'm being thankful for the little things
"waiting quietly."

Monday, April 11, 2016

Tomorrow? and Tomorrow!

"Tomorrow?...!" photo by Sally L. Smith

"This sign will occur tomorrow.’” Exodus 8:23
"Tomorrow the Lord will do this in the land.”
 Exodus 9:5
" this time tomorrow I will send..." Exodus 9:18
" this time tomorrow I will hand..." Joshua 11:6
"Go, for tomorrow I will give..." Judges 20:28

Sometimes tomorrow seems like a long time but God does things in His time, not ours.  Sometimes we just have to wait for good things to come.  God promised that He would take care of us but we spin our wheels worrying about needless things.  Worry is a miserable place to be and it will only make us feel worse?
Why don't we just trust Him?
He does hold our tomorrow, doesn't He?
If we actually trust Him, He will give us the peace we need until our "tomorrow" comes...
maybe even...

Friday, April 8, 2016


"My Favorite Spring Flower" photo by Sally L. Smith

Flowers appear on the earth;...
Song of Songs 2:12

It's here...Spring!
As I write this, however, I just heard that there is snow in Central Illinois.  It's supposed to be freezing here tonight.  One of many things about the Lord is His sense of humor.  It's a good thing I took this picture this week!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Rock...True Love

Your dwelling place is secure, 
your nest is set in a rock;...
Numbers 24:21

We tend to build nests...we mothers and grandmothers and wives and sisters.  We want our home to be comfortable and the people that live within to be loved and nurtured.  It is a rare occasion when that love is reciprocated in a meaningful and lasting way
such was the case the other day.

My grandson went for a walk with Grandpa the other day and returned with this heart rock.  I have a few that I have saved for myself and he said, "Grandma, I found this heart rock and I thought you might like to add it to your collection."  How sweet!  I was so touched that he thought of me and as a rock lover himself, he sacrificed his find for me. 
 That is true love...
something you love and sacrifice for another.

That is what God did for us when He sent His Son to die for our sins.
That is true love!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Perfect Unity

"Holy Week Sunset" photo by Sally L. Smith

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,  that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—  I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me... Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God
John 17:20-23

It amazes me that Jesus was thinking of those of us who WILL come to know him even after his disciples die.  He wrote these words for us and He expects us to get along with each other, to be united with no fighting, backbiting, arguing or hateful speech,no gossip, idle talk or ridicule...just love.
Sounds easy but we know it is not.  Only through understanding the perfect love of Christ can we get along with everyone around us, even those who get on our nerves, even those who think they are a god, even those who do not love us back.  Sounds easy but we know it is not...not without the love of God through Christ in us.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Path to Love

"Sky Islands" photo by Sally L. Smith

... make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;  and to knowledge, self-control;  and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:5-8

I have heard this scripture preached for years but never paid attention to the process it describes.  Today, after reading it again, these thoughts came.

The Bible tells us that believing in Jesus is a commitment process.  Following His teachings and living a life like His should be our goal and our whole life should be straining toward that goal.

So, you've accepted that Christ was and is,  now you will want to lead a better life. How do you do it?  Maybe following the progression in the scripture above will help.

Try goodness for starters: Do something good for someone.  Simple? Yes, but you must act and not just think.  Continue walking this path as you...

 gain more knowledge about Jesus.  Reading the Bible, especially Jesus' words, is a good start toward what He expects from us.  This is a life-long process since He reveals new things every time we read.

Try a little self-control. Start with the little things and work (yes, I said "work") at it.  This does not come easy for one who has had no control over his/her own life.

Gaining control over oneself takes perseverance.  It is a stick-to-it road and not something that comes over night.  Persevering puts us closer to Christ because it is a sacrifice to stick with it.

As we grow in all these things we gain godliness, thinking and doing things as God would.  We listen to our "leanings" toward godliness and act on those thoughts and feelings from the Holy Spirit.

We look for others with whom we can share our God-experience...those who share this passion to be more godly.  We find a mutual affection with them and we work together for good and God.  That affection helps us reach out to non-believers to share His hope with them.

Then we can truly love because we can better understand God's love for us.

Each is a step in the right direction.  Should one decide that it is just too difficult to do all this, then he/she does not really want to be an effective and productive Christian. (Sitting in a pew is  much easier.) Yes, we stumble but He picks us up. We then start on the path of love again where we got off because our goal is to be like Him and live with Him in His Glorious Forever. 

It's not always easy to be a Christian, especially in our fallen world, but it is not impossible.  We just have to take it step by step everyday.  You may have to start at the top some days but this progression has been given to us for a gain a love like His.

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Spotlight

"Sundown Spotlight" photo by Sally L. Smith

See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:24  NIV

The Lord doesn't have to look long to find my "offensive way."  Oh, if I had only one!  Mine come in multiples and yet, He still loves me and forgives me when I ask.  Even after spotlighting my faults, He continues to provide peace at the end of the day.  
Oh, sweet forgiveness!

(I don't know why my phone's camera highlighted something in the middle of the page with a ray from the sun.  It reminded me of God spotlighting my sins and loving me anyway.)

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Palette in the Sky

"God's Sky Painting" photo by Sally L. Smith

Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens,
 your faithfulness to the skies.
Psalm 36:5

I never get tired of looking at the clouds.  They are a constant reminder of their Creator.  The closest man can come to making a cloud is exhaust of some kind and that does not bring rain to nurture the earth.  Clouds are proof that God loves everyone.  

These clouds were so beautiful that I had to pull over to take a picture.  What a palette!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Growing Up

"Two Growing Boys" photo by Sally L. Smith

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk,  
so that by it you may grow up in your salvation...
1 Peter 2:2 NIV

Our baby grandsons are growing up.  One turned two a week ago and today his brother is four.  My, how the time flies.  Today is also the birthday of another of our grandsons who is 16.  How did that happen so fast?

Each is growing at his own pace, that which is set by our God who created them.  Each is different in his own way, just as God has decided.  If we raise them to be just like us, we have messed with God's design.  We treat them as individuals who were created to perform a special purpose in God's creation.  I'm eager to experience each as he grows...both physically and spiritually.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Seeking His Paths

Photo, "Path in the Woods," by Sally L. Smith

Those who know your name trust in you,
    for you, Lord, have never forsaken 
those who seek you.
Psalm 9:10 NIV

My husband, the "Always Alert Deer Hunter," is always seeking deer paths on our walks.  The one above is a "Man Path" created as a short cut to a field on which the land owner can drive his heavy equipment.  There is not a lot going on this time of year so the path has become strewn with leaves and debris.  Deer paths are less noticeable and are shortcuts through the woods to the deer's feeding ground.  He wants to know where the deer are so he can determine the best place to set up his deer stand.  We eat the venison during the year and share it with our family. (It takes two TN deer compared to one IL deer so we never seem to have enough).  He provides for our family and saves us money.  Plus, we like our deer meat.
 If we follow His Paths, God provides for us.  He will lead us to His Plans for our lives if we are alert to the signs He leaves for us, do the work He gives us and thank Him for the privilege of serving Him afterward.
Thank you, God, for your Paths.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

There Was This Rock...






Where did they get their love of rocks? one who loves rocks.
Where did they get their love of working outside?
...from the one who loves to work outside.
Where did they get their love of reading?
...from the one who is the avid reader and read to them when they were so young they couldn't even focus yet.
Where did they get their love of wild play?
...from the man who throws them in the air, chases them through the house and keeps them busy while Mom get dinner.
Where did they learn to pray?
...from the ones who prayed at bedtime and at meals.

Where do they get their love of Jesus?
Well, from ones who love Jesus, of course.

From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 61:2 NIV

Photos by Sally L. Smith

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Blue Jays and Water Oaks

Blue Jay and Water Oak by Sally L. Smith

But you remain the same,
 and your years will never end.
Psalm 102:27

Every year they come in droves and fill our trees as they look for the leftovers from our Water Oaks.  Though the acorns are small they are little treats this time of year for the birds.  It is a joy to see them right outside our back windows.

It's the little joys in life that give help me through the day.  I can easily lose perspective when schedules mount and overlap.  It is then that I need to remember to be thankful for the little things...and the big things.
Keep a list of everything for which you are thankful as they come into your life today.  It may give you encouragement in times of distress to remember the little things and that God's love never ends.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Apple Roses!

He carved cherubim, palm trees 
and open flowers on them 
and overlaid them with 
gold hammered evenly over the carvings.

He carved juicy apples into petals with the skins still on the edges
and overlaid them with apricot jelly and 
pressed pie crust evenly over the petals.

Bill found another wonderful recipe and outdid himself with his Valentine surprise for me.  I countered with walnut and chocolate chunk brownies but he won the contest!  What a surprise they were and so good, too.  Even manly men can make beautiful and tasty things for their wives.  It's certainly OK with me.

The Lord gives skills to those who are willing to do the work. Take a look at the number of artisans that helped decorate the temple...from beams and walls to flowers and woven cloth. They were no doubt manly men but God gifted them with the ability to create beauty.