Monday, April 28, 2008

Galveston Beach


As, my husband, Curtis, and I strolled along the beach, we were hoping to find a sand dollar among the thousands of tiny shells. I'm not sure if the tide was coming in or going out but we were enjoying the relaxing time of just being there and watching the large waves come in and then see them break into white capped ripples. And we also enjoyed watching the hundreds of seagulls flying all around looking for something to eat.

We have been coming to this beach since we were teenagers. Looking out across the ocean, here on the Gulf of Mexico, it looks the same now as it did then. But the people who walk along the shore have changed and continue to change.

When we came here as teens with our church group, the girls would all get together to go swimming and the boys were taken a mile or so down the beach. Far enough that we could hardly see them. "Mixed bathing" as it was called, was not allowed.

Thinking of the many changes in the last century, of morals and standards, the pendulum has reversed and has swung way out in the opposite direction. I think it is past time for it to swing back and strive for a better balance. Why is it so difficult to get a good balance in life?

One of the things that we did while in Galveston was to see the Titanic Exhibition at Moody Gardens. There were over a 125 authentic artifacts rescued from the Titanic on display and several re-creations of some of her famous rooms. We also read a number of stories of her passengers and crew. This was a sobering experience and also a reminder that none of us know what tomorrow may hold. We have only today. I like this quote:

"Yesterday is a cancelled check
Tomorrow is a promissory note
Today is cash. . . spend it!"
(and I would like to add. . . spend it with care!)

Another thing that happened at Galveston was a dream that I had. I dreamed that I was desperately trying to reach my son, Don. I was trying to call him on a cell phone to ask him why he had left, where was he, and when was he coming home? It was then that I awoke and I knew the answers to all those questions. We lost Don in a car accident when he was eighteen years of age. That was over thirty years ago but the dream brought him into sharp focus.










Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Singing Brook


A brook would lose its song

if God removed the rocks.


author unknown

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Headed For The Beach!



I'm excited because Curtis and I are headed for the beach at Galveston, TX where we will spend a couple of days. Darlene, loved the beach and the ocean. This is where she would go when life seemed to be pressing in and she needed an escape. She would stroll up and down the shore looking for sand dollars, as she listened to the roar of the mighty ocean waves.

The sand dollar is an ocean animal related to the starfish and sea urchin and are washed ashore when the tide comes in. Darlene had a large container of sand dollars that she found over a period of many years. I was told by a friend that she said a prayer each time she found one. This makes the collection even more precious now that she is gone.

Curtis and I plan to walk along the shore also and I would be so delighted if we should find a sand dollar. But even if this does not happen just walking on the beach will make us feel closer to our daughter and we will give thanks to God that we still have each other and will give praise for each new sunrise that He allows us to have.

The Legend of the Sand Dollar

There's a pretty little legend
That I would like to tell
Of the birth and death of Jesus
Found in this lowly shell

If you examine closely,
You'll see that you find here
Four nail holes and a fifth one
Made by a Roman's Spear.

On one side the Easter Lily,
Its center is the star
That appeared unto the shepherds
And led them from afar.

The Christmas poinsettia
Etched on the other side
Reminds us of His birthday
Our Happy Christmastide.

Now break the centre open
And here you will release
The five white doves awaiting
to spread Good Will and Peace.

This simple little symbol,
Christ left for you and me
To help us spread His Gospel
Through all eternity.


Anonymous

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It's Me Again, God


Remember me, God?

I come every day

Just to talk with You, Lord,

and to learn how to pray.

You make me feel welcome,

You reach out Your hand.

I need never explain,

for you understand.

I come to You frightened

and burdened with care,

So lonely and lost

and so filled with despair,

And suddenly, Lord,

I'm no longer afraid - -

My burden is lighter

and the dark shadows fade.

Oh God, what a comfort

to know that You care

And to know when I seek You,

You will always be there.

Helen Stiner Rice

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For My Yoke is easy and My burden is light.

Matthew 11: 28-30

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Morning At The Park





One morning I was sitting on a bench at the park while I watched my grandson playing on the swings. A young mother was there with her little girl. The toddler was laughing and running all around and ran right over an ant bed. At this point, the mother, raising her voice, said, "Stay away from that!" The child seem oblivious to the ant bed and continued to play close by and several minutes later, almost stepped in the ant bed again. Her mother said, "I TOLD YOU TO STAY AWAY FROM THERE!" She looked like she was about to give the little one a spat.


I turned around and said, "You, know, I don't think she has seen the ants. Maybe you could show her and explain that they sting. So then, the mother, got on her knees, pointed to the ants and explained to the child how these ants could hurt her. It was then the little girl seemed to see them for the first time, although it was apparent that she didn't understand the danger as she reached out to them with her tiny little hands.


As I thought about this, I wondered, how often do we as mature Christians react very much like this mother? Do we simply say to a young Christian, "Stay away from that" and expect them to know the harm of certain sins? When in reality they don't see nor understand!


"Lord,help me to realize that young Christians may not see some things as sin nor understand the danger of the sting and hurt that they can bring. Help me to have patience and a willingness to get on my knees and then in love help to guide and direct. . . and to be there with a soothing ointment when they are stung!"

Monday, April 21, 2008

Opppps!


One night our ladies group at church had a slumber party! That's right. . .a slumber party! Regardless of your age, you can always be "young at heart" and that's exactly what our ladies did. One of the things we did that night was to share an embarrassing moment in our life. There was much laughter as one woman after another shared. Time takes care of many awkward situations where they are no longer so humiliating.

Here is one of mine!

A young couple in the church that I attended presented a little skit each Sunday where they dressed in "tacky" country clothing. One Sunday the young man was standing at the door when I came in. He had on a plaid shirt with a tie that was covered with small "candy" hearts. I said, "Good Morning" and made mention of his "funny clothes." He bowed his head and looking a little uncomfortable said, "These are my Sunday clothes." His wife was standing a few feet away and said that she had matched his outfit - wanted him to look younger. I said, "Well, I guess I'm just too old to know what's cool!" Hopefully they agreed.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Forgiveness


He that cannot forgive others

breaks the bridge over which he

must pass himself; for every man

has a need to be forgiven.
Thomas Fuller

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Torch of Faith. . . Continued


Yesterday I wrote about my great grandmother and before going to another subject I would like to share a few more thoughts about my heritage.


My grandmother was also a very Godly woman. At one time my grandfather felt he was called to preach and my grandmother said to him, "Van, if you feel that God has called you to preach, I'll live on bread and water." My grandmother died when my mother was about three years of age, the youngest of five girls.


My grandfather never remarried and although he did not become a formal preacher he "preached" to anyone that would listen. In my mind I can see him now, talking with much emotion and wiping away tears with a handkerchief that he would pull out of his pocket as he expounded on the love of Jesus.


For a period of time my mother lived with different relatives after her mother died. She said that her grandmother had the most influence on her life. And, truly, my mother has had the greatest impact on my life.


I was raised in a very sheltered home and after I was grown and had left this protected environment I became somewhat shaky in the larger world I had entered and I began to question everything and in some respects became dispppointed and disillusioned to the greater exposure to life. But there was an image that would come to my mind that held me steady.


The image was my coming home from school and hearing my mother pray in a closed room. When she heard me come in the house she would come out, sometimes singing, other times, just smiling. But the glow on her face cannot be described. I knew that she had made contact with a power beyond the human level. This has stayed with me all of my life and in those "shaky years" when I even doubted the existence of God this image would come back to me and I would say, "Yes, I know there is a God for His presence was shining on my mother's face.


I feel very close to tears as I remember my mother saying to me a number of times, "Hold the light steady."


We're pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road
And those who've gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who've gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us

The heritage of faithfulness
Passed on through godly lives
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way

May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful


Jon Mohr




Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Torch Of Faith


The "Torch of Faith" has been passed down for several generations on my mother's side. And I pray that the light will continue to shine in each generation until the coming of the Lord.

I heard my mother and also her sisters tell many stories of their ancesters. They are all gone now and the only stories that can be passed to the next generation are those that were heard by my generation and possible some of our children. Here are a couple of the stories.

My great grandmother was a very Godly woman from all accounts and a woman of prayer and great devotion. One day the weather was stormy and there was danger of a tornado. My great grandmother gathered the children for a place of safety in the house and one of the children asked, "Mamma, aren't you going to pray?" And with calmness she answered, "No, now is the time to trust."

When my great grandmother was on her dying bed she was overheard to say,
"There he is!"
"Who, mamma, is it Pappa?
"No, Jesus."

Isn't that a beautiful way to live. . . . and die?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Maria



Don't you love to be around someone that is always cheerful, enjoys life and enjoys being with you? My niece, Maria, would fit that mold. When I am with her she makes me feel I am one of the most special people in her life. She has that exceptional ability to see and feel and captivate things all around her. She writes down what she calls her "Daily Dozen." She has shared some of these with me and now I share one with you:


"While at Wal-Mart with two friends, my register lady was the fastest so I got to sit on a bench and read a magazine waiting for the other girls. I looked up and saw a man reach down and pick the head of a red carnation off the floor and give it to his wife who was walking five feet behind him surrounded by their four sons. He bowed, gave her the piece of flower and she blushed. It was sweet to watch. Made me smile."


Today enjoy the "little things" that are all around you. Look for them. . . cherish them. . . for these little things are the "stuff" of life.

Monday, April 14, 2008

With This Ring. . .


Do you remember the day that your husband placed a ring on your finger and you heard the words, "With this ring I do thee wed.."? The wedding ring is something we hold dear. I thought my ring was incredibly beautiful even though it was just a small gold band. It had little orange blossoms and was hand carved with a silver inlay. Most of the delicate design was worn off but to me the ring had lost none of its beauty.

I lost my cherished wedding ring! Even though I know where and when I lost it, a careful search brought no results. I know that it is gone and it feels strange not to be able to touch or see a ring that has been on my finger fifty-eight years in June. I wore it all the time but somehow it slipped off my finger when getting out of the car.

Sunday morning I was sitting in church and felt such a great loss and sadness. But then the following thoughts began to fill my mind and heart:

What you have lost is a symbol. No one can take away the years of your happy marriage. All that you have shared with your husband, the good days, the storms, the victories, the failures, all that make up a life; none of this is lost.

My spirit was lifted! I am so thankful for those things that cannot be taken away. It is also a reminder that anything that I can see or touch is temporal and all of this will pass away. I want to take inventory of my life. How much time do I invest in those things that have eternal value? Something to think about!

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Matthew 6: 19,20

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Transformed


What the caterpillar calls the end, God calls the butterfly.


Author Unknown

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Betty Crocker's Cook Book


The "Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book" was issued in 1950. In 1961 a "Betty Crocker's New Picture Cook Book" was printed and Curtis bought me one of these newest additions of Betty Crocker cook books. I understand this particular addition is a real collector's item.

Oh, how I loved that book! I'm sure I spent hours just looking at the pictures of all the luscious things to eat. And I used many of the recipes. When Darlene was a young teen she wanted to make a chocolate cake and used the Betty Crocker cook book. The cake fell and was a real disappointment. Time passed and again she wanted to make a chocolate cake,as she loved anything chocolate! She made the cake and another disappointment. She had used the same recipe! I told her to make a notation not to use that recipe again. To my dismay, I found she had taken a black broad point marker and across the entire page wrote "Pooh Pooh Cake." I couldn't believe that she would write something so crude in my cook book. Not just any cook book but my beloved "Betty Crocker's New Picture Cook Book!"


This happened over thirty years ago. The pages are now aged and worn but the most cherished page of all is the one that Darlene marked on! It represents so much - a fun loving teen that certainly did not intend to do something that resulted in so much reaction from me. We lost our only daughter about four years ago and anything that she touched is now so precious. This is also a reminder that time changes so many things in life. Something we all need to remember. Time and years have brought a completely different perspective to me.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Caramel Apples


Curtis and family moved to Port Arthur where I lived when we were both very young teenagers. We attended the same church and I didn't like him at all when we first met. I drew his name for a Christmas exchange and told the girls if I had to buy that boy a gift I just wouldn't go to the party! My best girlfriend shrugged and said, "I'll take his name." Later I realized that he was just shy and not a "snob."

Before we married Curtis moved to Houston to look for a job. He would come to Port Arthur on week-ends and I still feel a flutter in my heart when I think about seeing him on those special days. He told me about a young married couple in the church and said the girl looked so much like me that he would get jealous when her husband put his arm around her.

After we were married and attended the church in Houston I looked around the congregation to find that girl. I did see one I thought favored me and pointed her out to Curtis. He said, "That's her!" We became best friends with Anna Rhea and Ronale and had many good times together until they moved to Ohio.

One of the times that Anna Rhea and Ronale were visiting I made Caramel Apples and they were a real hit! A recipe from the 1950 Betty Crocker Cook Book. I loved that cook book!

I have made this caramel sauce many many times and I think it makes the best Caramel Apples ever!


Caramel Apples
2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white corn syrup
2/3 cup butter
1 cup cream ( can use whole milk)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla

Cook 'til little dropped into cold water forms a firm ball, stirring constantly towards end of cooking period to prevent scorching. Remove from heat. Cool until mixture thickens slightly. Quickly dip each apple into the caramel mixture and twist until evenly and completely covered. Drain on waxed paper.

I cut the apples into slices and pour the sauce over the apples. But children would probably rather have the apple whole.



Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I Believe In Angels


Yes I believe in angels. . .

I would like to tell you about two angels that knocked on my door! My mother had suffered a stroke and my husband and I were pretty well confined to the home. During this time I had a birthday and on "my" day the door bell rang. I went to the door and there they were - two angels, arms laden with food, gifts and flowers! Two very dear friends had on full angel robes with angel wings and halo. They both knew that I collected angels. They had picked up angel hair pasta at Olive Garden with a salad, and angel food cake for dessert. Angel Judy with a slightly crooked halo went to the kitchen to dish up the food while the other angel, Becky, prepared the table. My husband, Curtis and I went to the table where we celebrated my birthday with two beautiful angels!

This happened twelve years ago but it remains in my mind and heart as one of the special days of my life. Do you know of a person that you could be an "angel" to? There are people all around that the touch of your life could make such a difference. Let God dream in you a creative way to reach out to someone that needs you right now!


I believe also in God's heavenly angels. I read that angels are mentioned over 300 times in the Bible. Angel means messenger. We do not pray to angels but we can pray that God will send an angel to help or minister to someone. This knowledge should give us comfort and encouragement. God has countless ways to help us and sometimes it's through an angel.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Now Is My Time!


Do you ever do anything on impulse?

I ask the question not knowing if anyone is reading this! I might be talking to myself but I guess I'm used to that because I have been keeping a personal journal for over twenty years. But in journal writing I don't usually ask myself questions.

About three or four weeks ago I didn't even know what a blog was. I feel a little bit like the writer and speaker, Patsy Clairmont, who recently started blogging. She said, "At my age I thought blogging meant I had a blockage or it was a description of that band of jello slosing around my middle. ." My niece sent me a devotional from Proverbs 31 Ministry and this is where I first noticed the word "blog." I clicked it on and soon found myself in a brand new world! One blog led to another and another and I found myself reading for hours. I am not as disciplined as I would like to be and I became almost obsessed with blogging. Then I realized that I could start a blog! I then spent more time reading how to set up a blog, etc. And I was really excited when I posted my own first blog! Several days later it occurred to me that I would run out of stuff to write in a very short time. I didn't think it through for my age limits much of my former activities.

I first named my blog "Pass the Torch" because I thought that sounded neat to pass the thoughts I would write with others. Then I decided to change it to "Let Your Light Shine."
That seemed a good thing to do but now with a little more thought "Looking Back" seems a better name because most of what I write will be things that have already happened. This blog might be like a meteor - it's there and it's gone! But even a meteor has its moment of glory and people somewhere in the world will see it. So, I'll enjoy my moment. . . for now is my time!

I sure feel better now that I have all this before you! Tomorrow my subject title will be, "I Believe in Angels." Do you?


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Friday, April 4, 2008

A Season


What a beautiful morning! I love to sit on the deck in my back yard and drink in the sights and sounds of spring! Looking up at the new green leaves I thought about the brevity of their life. One season of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter and the leaves began to fall and soon new ones take their place. Yet each leaf has its place and purpose.

Each of us have a place and purpose and a work to do while on this earth and not unlike the leaves, our "season" is very short and soon others take our place. But this is not the end. As the leaves fall from the tree, they simply take on another form and become part of mother earth. We, too, at the end of this life will take on another form as we enter into eternal life.

Father, how beautiful and wonderful are your ways! Nothing wasted - nothing gone - simply changed.


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Noah and the Fish



Teaching a class of young children I told them the story of Noah and the Ark and how everything was destroyed by water except the people, animals, etc. that were in the ark. After completing the story, I asked each child to draw a picture of the ark. I couldn't help but smile when I was handed the above picture with little fish swimming under the ark.


Well, did the fish perish? What do you think?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Everything Changed



This is a quote that my sister-in-law, Joy sent to me. And incidentally, she truly is a JOY and is an inspiration to me in so many ways. I hope you enjoy the quote and at the end of the day may you feel a satisfaction that you have indeed found enough time for the things that really matter.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

First Day of April


Here is another beautiful bloom from the angel trumpet plant that I can see when looking out the kitchen window. Oh, give praise for the wonderful handiwork of our amazing God!
Today is traditionally known as April Fool's day but no one seems to know for certain how it got started. Here is one explanation from Dictionary.com:
There are several explanations for the origin of April Fools' Day, but here is the most plausible one. April 1st was once New Year's Day in France. In 1582, Pope Gregory declared the adoption of his Gregorian calendar to replace the Julian calendar and New Year's Day was officially changed to January lst. It took awhile for everyone in France to hear the news of this major change and others obstinately reused to accept the new calendar, so a lot of people continued to celebrate New Year's Day on the first of April - earning them the name April fools. The April fools were subjected to ridicule and practical jokes and the tradition was born. The butts of these pranks were first called poisson d'avril or April Fish because a young naive fish is easily caught. A common practice was to hook a paper fish on the back of someone as a joke. This evolved over time and a custom of prank-playing continues on the first day of April.
I would like to leave this quote with you:
"He is NO FOOL to give what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."