Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

         I have a lot of cooking and cleaning to do at home, so no time for writing. But I wanted to share this picture of my little pilgrims and wish everyone a happy thanksgiving. We are 1/3 of the way through the kindergarten year, and I am thankful for all the learning that has taken place. I am thankful for my assistant and all the other staff members who help me along the way, for the parents who share the teaching with me, and for the hugs and smiles that greet me every morning when I walk in. I am thankful for a class of children who are still excited about learning and coming to school.  Everything is a little sweeter because I know we are retiring after this year, and this is the last time for everything -- like making all those pilgrim hats -- thank you, Mrs. Austin! 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Slow Down, Remember, Give Thanks

     It's time to get the turkey out of the freezer and let it start thawing -- only 2 more days of school this week! Lots of traffic in town and a long line at the fast food place yesterday-- people are busy with Christmas shopping. I need to make a list of food to prepare for Thursday's meal, a list for Christmas, and start the testing at school while decorating for the holidays. Amid all this busy-ness, I was reminded at church this evening that I need to slow down, remember, and give thanks.  At the end of a message about the 10 lepers who were healed by Jesus -- and only one stopped to give thanks -- Pastor Tom asked us to write something that we were thankful for on a paper leaf. As I started writing, I soon realized that there was not near enough room on that leaf to write all the things I am thankful for.

      So this evening I decided to do just that -- slow down, remember, and give thanks for the many, many blessings I have.  I am thankful that when I was a little girl about 11 years old, my heart was stirred during a revival at a little church in West Virginia and I knew I needed a Savior. I am thankful for my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents who worshiped and served at that little church, and for all the old saints who prayed for me and encouraged me as I grew up. I have sweet memories of those days. Thank You, God.
       I am thankful for the sacrifices my family made to make college possible for me. I got to go to West Virginia University where I found a new church family. I graduated with a degree in elementary education -- what a blessing that has been! Thank You, God.
       Church camp -- EvUnBreth Acres -- was another big influence in my life. I am so thankful for my summers there where my faith and circle of friends grew. I met one of my best lifetime friends there, and I have many memories of feeling so close to God in that beautiful location. Thank You, God.
        And then there was the mission trip where I met my future husband --- I could never thank God enough for the man he chose for me. To love and be loved by him has been the greatest blessing of my life. And  our 3 children -- words can't express my gratitude for the privilege of being their mom. Thank You, God.
         My churches -- and there have been many since we have moved around with the military -- have all been such a blessing. From the Army chapel where we worshipped as newly weds -- to the churches where my children were baptized and we first taught and served -- to the church in the town where we finally settled after the Army -- all have given us a family and friends and made our faith grow.
           I can see that my trip down memory lane could barely scratch the surface of my list of things I am thankful for. A good job, precious friends, my brothers and cousins, nephews and nieces, aunts and uncles, healing from cancer and Sam's heart attack, opportunity to live and travel in Europe, mission trips, my chorus, scripture, and about a million answered prayers --Thank You, God!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Love Lifted Me

    When I was young -- a long time ago -- my family liked to sing in the car. I don't know if it was because we didn't have a working radio or not, but I learned to harmonize in the car with my parents. The song I remember best was " Love Lifted Me." I've been thinking about that song since last weekend when I went to West Virginia for Bridge Day.  The New River Gorge Bridge is the location of a big festival where base jumpers parachute off the bridge. It made me nervous just to watch! But they seemed to trust their parachute completely and stretched out their arms and jumped.

      I was thinking about how God has lifted me through many difficult times when I trusted Him enough to let go of my worries and just believe what the Bible teaches. "The eternal God is your refuge. And underneath are the everlasting arms." Psalm 5
     My daughter went to a funeral this week -- she was touched to see the faith of the mother who was burying her young son.  She saw the mother lift her hands in praise to God, even though I'm sure she was heartbroken. The marvelous peace that passes understanding is something that I have experienced myself, but I can't really explain. 
      Today I got the results of my blood test that I had last week.  Since I had a treatment for the recurrence of thyroid cancer last year, I have to get checked every few months to make sure it is really gone. And it is! My levels are totally back to normal, after the sky high reading I had last year.  I am happy, and glad I did not waste time worrying! The everlasting arms continue to hold me, just like they always have. "Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come. 'Tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home."

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Today's Good Thing

    My friend, Kathy Clay, was buried today. That was NOT today's good thing.
     Kathy was one of the first women I met when we started attending Concord Baptist Church in 1996.  She had been diagnosed with breast cancer around that time, but she recovered and we all thought it was history. We talked and she asked for prayer when she had a follow up appointment. Since I had a bout with cancer, too, she knew that I understood the uneasy waiting every time there was a test. She had a lot of good years with no problem -- but then there was that test that did not have the results we wanted to hear. The cancer was back. And all the treatments and chemo and doctors could not make it go away. But through it all, she kept her faith in God and was a blessing to everyone. She came to church every time she felt well enough and was an active member in our "women of Hope" organization and the church choir. She wrote sweet comments on Facebook and was so loved by her family and friends. I already miss her -- we all will miss her.
      But when I spoke with her daughter, Jessica, yesterday, she told me about her mother's journals. Kathy had written in her journals for many, many years. And every entry started with "Today's good thing..."   Even when she was suffering, she was writing about something good every day.  I have been thinking about that all day.  What a difference it would make if we daily looked for the good things that happened! Kathy made a difference in many lives, but those 3 words --- "Today's good thing" --- will continue to make a difference in my life. I intend to follow her example and look for the good every day.
      Today's good things were many hugs from my kindergarten kids, a good doctor report, and warm handshakes from my church family. Thank you, Kathy, for the example you set.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Through Every Generation

      We just got back from a family reunion marathon in West Virginia -- 3 reunions in 8 days, with about a 4 to 5 hour drive in between each. We try to get to our hometowns 2 or 3 times a year, but the reunion trips are always special.  Just going back to the place of my childhood brings memories flooding back.

        I think of my precious parents and grandparents who lived here beside the Kanawha River.
We spent so much time sitting in the swing, listening to stories, playing hide and seek, picking tomatoes from the garden -- it was a wonderful place to grow up. We drove past the old, falling down church where my brothers and I knelt at the altar in the sixties. The new church was built in the seventies -- I was married there -- but even covered with weeds and vines, the old church holds my memories of Bible School and singing, prayers and tears, and redemption.
          When we finally got to the last reunion -- my husband's Spencer-Hinkle reunion -- some members of the family met at the little white Hinkle Mountain Church for a worship service before we gathered for the pot-luck meal in a cousin's home. The church was built in the 1800's by my husband's ancestor - we still have the broad ax he used to cut the planks.  A cousin was leading the service, and he had asked Sam to read the scripture.  As he stood in front of the church, he was overcome with emotion, thinking of his father and grandfather and great grandfather and other family members who had worshipped there.

        As he started reading from Deuteronomy 6, he got a little choked up. "And thou shalt love The Lord our God with all thine heart, and with all thine soul and with all thy might.  ....and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children..." Both of us were taught about loving God by our parents and grandparents, and come from many generations of ancestors who were known for their faith.  I could hardly sing as my eyes filled with tears. I am so grateful for my ancestors who taught that " for The Lord is good, his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endures to all generations." Psalm 11:5 and it gives me great joy to know that our faith has been passed on to our own children. 
"Make a joyful noise unto The Lord, all ye lands."

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Gift of Encouragement

        I have never liked to do things that make me sweat. High school phys.ed. was my least favorite class, and  over the years I have tried many exercise classes -- even joined an adult ballet class and a Zumba class for a while -- both were pretty funny to watch, I am sure. I've wasted a lot of money on gym membership, and exercise equipment that I didn't use. Now at my age, my pep is pretty much dwindling. But I know I can't just sit down and give in to it, just because my strength is failing. So now that I am at the Medicare/Social Security phase of my life, I am trying once more to put some effort into moving before I just settle in the rocking chair. I am not ready to retire yet!

       Funny thing, though.  I am finding lots of encouragement that is making a difference in my desire to move more.  And it seems that I need lots of encouragement.  I feel like God has provided the encouragers that I desperately need. My friend sends me messages almost every day -- praising my little accomplishments and pushing me to keep at it.  One daughter bought a Fitbit like mine and we have a friendly competition to see who gets the most steps in a day.  The other daughter is a  Zumba queen and has totally changed her body through her faithful routines.  Even my son has joined the gym. So even when I'd rather just collapse on the couch, I'm trying to get myself up and moving.  
      Several times I have had people to walk with me at the beautiful new walking track, and that always makes the time pass quicker.  And when I walk alone, I have my playlist to listen to and sing praise songs to the One who never really lets me walk alone. I like singing "your grace is enough!" And "Lord, I'm asking you to be strong enough for both of us!"  "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."
        The two songs at the end of my playlist are " Happy" - which describes how I feel when I have made it to the end of my 2 miles. The last one is "Overcomer", and I have never yet been able to walk long enough to get to that song -- I listen to it in the car as I drive home. "Stay in the fight -- you're not going under 'cause God is holding you right now. Don't quit, don't give in."
         Encouragement is a gift -- and I receive this gift from unexpected places sometimes. I want to have the strength to make it to the end, but I also need the reminder to be an encourager to others who might need a reminder of the faithfulness of God.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Sweet Fragrance

   As I left church tonight, the air was full of the sweet fragrance of honeysuckle.  I was immediately taken back to my childhood in West Virginia.  The honeysuckle grew thick and wild along the riverbank and railroad in front of my house, and I still love the smell of it.
    There are other memories associated with smells -- like the smell of coffee and oatmeal. I didn't like either of those, but it always makes me think of my mom cooking breakfast for my brothers while I was in high school. The smell would drift up to my room as I was getting ready for school. I still can't stand coffee unless it is full of cream and sugar, but I love how it smells.
       My mother's favorite perfume, "Passion" was the best fragrance in the world. I tried to wear it, but it just didn't work with my body chemistry. Even after my mother went to heaven, I kept some of her handkerchiefs and sniffed them until there was not a trace of her perfume left.
         And skunks! Who would ever think there would be a good memory associated with that terrible odor? Well, it reminds me of my dad. When we were in the car and came upon a spot with skunk smell, Daddy would always roll the windows down as all of us yelled our complaints.  He thought it was hilarious. So, I can't say that I like the smell, but it always makes me smile.
          A sweet baby, freshly baked cookies, the ocean, roses from my husband, and even the aroma of Mr. Clean when I was lucky enough to have a cleaning lady -- all are wonderful treats that make me say, " Ahhhhhh!"

           If our lives reflect the gift of God in Christ Jesus, we become a sweet fragrance to God.  

Ephesians 5:2 Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

2Corinthians 2:15  For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

           Does my life cause God to say "Ahhhh?" Probably not -- but I want to be that pleasing aroma and I hope I will always try to walk in the way of love. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Metamorphosis in Kindergarten

     I teach kindergarten in a very small school.  Most of my kids come from low-income families -- nearly all are on free or reduced lunch, and 5 children have had parents in jail sometime this year.  They tell me things that break my heart and when I am especially frustrated, I try to remember how hard life is for many of my children.  Last week, we had a story about moving in a moving van, and the question in the book was, "Why do people move?"  The first answer given was, "Because they have cockroaches in their house!"  So I said, "Have any of you ever moved?" Several hands went up. So I asked why they moved. Here are some of the answers given by my little ones: 
-- The house is nasty
--You got kicked out
--The house is too old
--You get rats
--The house breaks
--a fire
--A tree fell on your house
-- A snake was in the yard and no one was watching the kids and someone got bit
-- Mean people
--  ___ was mean to my mom so we moved.
    Not one suggested moving because of a new job or needing a larger house.  How sad.  
       This is the time of year when we have to start assessing each child to see how much they have learned. It is very time-consuming -- my assistant has done about all of the teaching this week so I could test.  One little book included in the tests is about being helpful.  I was instructed to ask, "How are you helpful at home or at school?"  One little one said, "I always give my mommy a hug when she feels bad.  I wiped some tears off when my daddy and mommy was fussing at home."
         Last week when we were making Mothers Day cards, one crumpled his up and threw it in the trash. 
         I always say this is my mission field.  A clean and colorful place where the little ones can feel safe and loved and dream of better days.  But even with cockroaches and no clean socks and and fussing parents at home, many of the parents are doing the best they can because they love their children and want the best for them.  It is a huge responsibility to keep kids and parents motivated to do homework when the situation at home is so challenging. But. They come in smiling every morning, full of hugs for this old teacher. Hearing,"I love you so much, Teacher." Warms my heart and gives me strength to keep on. One brought me a little gift today -- 3 bubble gums in a greasy bag. Sweet. Also got an ant and 4 ladybugs, since we have been learning about insects.

         Our caterpillars made a chrysalis this week in the classroom, and the tadpoles have legs now. Soon they will transform into something new and beautiful and wonderful. I hope to see that happening with my kids.  I am blessed to have the opportunity to see my little tadpoles grow legs -- to see my caterpillars changing into butterflies.  I don't know what the future holds for them -- but I hope they FLY -- or at least hop to a brighter future.
   " I know the plans I have for you," declares The Lord....." Plans to give you a hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, May 9, 2014

Graduation, Finally!

       My son, Andrew, was leaving for tonight's graduation ceremony dressed in a Renaissance Festival t-shirt, cargo pants, and tennis shoes. When I questioned him, he said, "They said wear something dark."  About 20 minutes later, the phone rang. "I just remembered that they said to wear a shirt with a collar. Can you find one and bring it to me?" I checked the letter he received last week--and saw that he also was supposed to wear a tie and dark shoes. So I looked for a shirt while Sam got out the shoe polish.  This is so typical for my ADHD son -- I can't count the number of times he suddenly remember something at the last minute that called the whole family into action.

      As we were at the ceremony tonight, the speaker talked about how college was easy for some students, but a struggle for others. I saw a mortarboard nodding in agreement -- and I knew who it belonged to.  I thought of the little boy in kindergarten who only got in the prize box one time in a whole year -- his enthusiasm and curiosity and impulsiveness were not appreciated by his sweet teacher, and he spent a lot of time sitting in a little chair in the principal's office. Seven years of homeschool followed, as I taught him while he hung upside down on the couch or standing on a picnic table shouting,"Give me liberty or give me death!"  Those years were precious -- we made lots of memories -- but eventually we decided to send him to the little Christian school where he could be in small classes with personal attention and praying teachers.  It was not easy - he had lots of detentions after school for forgetting his homework and not quite fitting into the mold they expected. Not fighting or cheating or disrespect -we never had a problem with that kind of thing -- but his impulsiveness and distractibility continued to make life hard. Eventually he graduated and started college -- then changed his major and changed colleges -- then  changed his major and changed colleges again -- then changed his major and changed colleges AGAIN. But this time he finally found his niche -- and still had some struggles -- leaving his memory stick with all his notes in the computer lab, for example -- but that brings us to tonight.

     As I heard the beginning notes of "Pomp and Circumstance"-- a huge lump was in my throat and tears filled my eyes.  Soon I saw the smiling face of my boy, looking so proud and happy as he marched toward the stage. No one there knew what an accomplishment this was -- the years of praying and fussing and worrying and more praying -- and God had it in His hands all along.
My heart is full of praise tonight for a faithful God who was always there through it all.
Great is Thy faithfulness, o God!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

He Knows my Name

         My daughter and I went to see Kathy Mattea in concert Saturday night in Lenoir.

    She is from my home state, West Virginia, and if you drive through her home town, there's a sign that says "Home of Kathy Mattea." We thoroughly enjoyed hearing her sing -- especially my favorite, "Where've  You Been," -- so we hung around for the "Meet and Greet" afterwards.

     I took Sara's picture with Kathy, then we talked briefly and I told her that I was from WV, too. She asked were I lived, and when I said, "Red House" she asked if I lived on Red House Hill.  Now, only someone who has been there would know about that, because the population was only about 350 when I lived there.  It had been a very long time since I talked to someone who knew about my little town. She told me that her mom and uncles went to the same high school as I did.  It was kind of cool to talk to someone famous who actually knew where I lived.

      But ever cooler is the fact that God, the Creator of the whole universe and most famous One of all, knew me before I was born, according to Psalm 139. He knows my name -- He knows my every thought -- and I can talk to Him any time I want to.

Now THAT is really amazing!!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

How Great Thou Art

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
As we sang this familiar hymn in church this morning, I was reminded of my opportunity this week to see some of the whole realm of nature. After church on Easter Sunday, my daughter and I drove to Charleston and went to see the massive Atlantic ocean
As the waves rolled in, I thought about God and His creation -- water as far as I could see -- and "How Great Thou Art" was going through my head.
At the end of the week, we drove to the mountains. Again I thought of that song --"When I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds Thy hands have made... when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur ...How great Thou art."

So, back to the beginning -- "were the whole realm of nature mine" --it still would not be enough, because the gift of mountains and sea -- really are mine already -- a gift from my Heavenly Father and Creator.
As we stood on top of some rocks on Wayah Bald, there was a great view of the surrounding mountains, and I raised my hands to say, like in "The Titanic" -- "I'm the king of the world!" but on second thought -- I KNOW the King of the World -- the Creator of all that I see -- and I am so blessed!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Girls Getaway and Gratitude

     Spring Break! How I have looked forward to a few days off from school! My daughter, Sara, and I  just got back from a few days of making memories at our favorite beach town -- Charleston, South Carolina. We have taken very few "girls only" trips,  but we always have a good time and I am thankful that Sara talked me into this one. Just like the last trip, we walked the beach looking for a sand dollar. She found a half and wondered if it was a message from God.

     Later, we saw a cardinal in a tree by the beach -- seemed very out of place.  I don't know why cardinals and sand dollars always seem like a special blessing from God, but we are always grateful when we see them. We were looking at jewelry in a little shop, and Sara found some beautiful "Southern Gates " earrings that looked like sand dollars  and I couldn't resist -- they will be a reminder of this special trip when I wear them.

     On the way home, we made a side trip to Lexington, SC to see Edsil and Lovern Bragg.   Rev. Bragg was our pastor during my teen years and was a big influence in my life. They retired to SC to be near their daughter about 9 years ago, and I meant to go see them, but just didn't get around to it until now.  They had a quilting frame made by my Grandan, and told me about a year ago that I could have it. My brother wanted it, so I finally went to pick it up. But I also wanted to thank him in person for the ways he influenced my life.  He was the one who first asked me to be a counselor at church camp when he directed the Junior High camp the year I was a senior in high school. Because of camp experiences, I  changed my major to education and became a teacher. It was at camp that I met my future maid of honor and lifelong friend, Sheila. It was at camp that I was invited to go on the mission trip where I met my Sam -- and we will be celebrating our 40th anniversary this year and  Rev. Bragg was the one who performed the wedding ceremony. I thanked him today for all these things that happened because of him -- but he would not take any credit -- he gave all the credit to God. I, too, am grateful to God for using this minister to change my life. And I am sorry that I waited until he was 83 years old to tell him, but thankful that he is still alive and well so I don't have to regret something that I always meant to do.  I am not getting any younger, either, and if there are things I always meant to do or say -- well, now is the time!

Monday, April 7, 2014

See You Next Year!

   About this time last year, I drove to Winston-Salem for my yearly blood test -- I get one every year ever since I had thyroid cancer in 1998. I was surprised and dismayed to get the results -- indicating metastasis .  After all these years, I had been confident that cancer was defeated and forgotten. Not so -- and I have written about the treatment that I had last summer.  I determined to go on with my life -- believing that the treatment was working  and that prayers on my behalf  were heard.
   I went back to see my thyroid doctor today, and the news was all good. My blood test showed everything back to normal -- yay, God!  Not only that, but my doctor said he didn't need to see me again until next year! I will have another test in the fall, but after seeing him every three months, now I can wait another year .  That sounds like he is confident that the cancer is no longer a threat, and that is very good news.
  I don't know why some are healed and others are not -- I wish everyone could always get good news from the doctor.  But I know that the peace of God is very real -- and I would not ever want to face any of life's challenges and problems alone.  I am so grateful for praying friends who faithfully mentioned my name in prayer.  I am thankful for my little "Jesus Calling" book that comforted my soul with scripture this year.  And I am thankful most of all for my Savior who kept me from being afraid this year.  Woo-hoo!!  It is over!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I Love to Tell the Story

I love to tell the story
For those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting 
To hear it like the rest.
And when in scenes of glory
I sing the new, new song
'Twill be the old, old story
That I have loved so long.

  My spiritual birthday is this week -- April 4 will make 55 years since I walked the aisle and knelt at the altar of our little church in Red House, West Virginia. We were having a revival at our church -- the evangelist was named Raymond Kelley -- and I can remember seeing tears running down his face as one more little soul was saved that night. I don't remember a word of the sermon or any song that was sung, but I clearly remember feeling a heavy burden being lifted when Preacher Scott took my hand and asked me, "Do you want to be saved?"-- and I said "Yes." I remember how happy my mother was --  she was so joyful to know that I became a Follower of Christ at a young age and now I had my whole life ahead of me as a Christian. I remember being surrounded by some of the old saints of the church who gathered at the altar to pray with me. My life was changed for the good that night, and it have never regretted that decision. In the following years, my three younger brothers all knelt at that same altar and we were a family that prayed together and stayed together, worshipping at the little church where my grandparents and great grandparents had been faithful members.  I have so many precious memories of that little congregation.  Eventually we built a new church and the little church was sold. It was never used as a place of worship again, and now the steeple has fallen off and the building is falling down. But it will always be holy ground for me -- the place where I learned about the love of God. Happy birthday to me!!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

What Moves You Today?

     What did you once dream of doing? Our pastor asked this question tonight and I remembered how I dreamed of being a ballerina when I was about 10 years old.  I got a beautiful ballerina doll for Christmas, and I spent many hours spinning her around on her toes and thinking about what it would be like to dress up in a tutu and ballet shoes and dance on a stage. That dream vanished when I took a ballet class when I was about 30 years old --trying to gracefully leap across the room caused me to collapse in laughter and never return to the class.  I also wanted to be able to ice skate like Dorothy Hamill, but reality struck when I couldn't even stand up on ice skates.  Obviously neither of these dreams moved me to pursue them -- 
    The sermon tonight was from Acts 20: 22-27 and the key phrase from verse 24 was "None of these things move me." Paul was on his third missionary journey when he said these words, and he was on his way to Jerusalem -- understanding that trouble and tribulation were ahead of him, just like in the other places he preached the message from God.  He didn't know exactly what was going to happen --  but he trusted God to be with him. He let God choose his destination and he didn't plan to retire, even though he had worked hard planting churches and was probably tired. He was going to keep running the race, dedicated to the end. Nothing else moved him. He was focused on sharing the message of God.
     None of us can really know what the future holds, and that is probably a good thing.  Paul was heading on to Jerusalem, trusting God with his life.  Sometimes I get caught up in the "what if..." and that's when I really have to give it to God. I want to be led by God -- and let nothing else move me. But I am easily distracted, so I thankful for these messages that remind me of my one dream that has never vanished-- my dream to be a "good and faithful servant" used by God.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Snow Days

     As one of my friends said, God hit the pause button this week.  We have had a huge snowfall that cancelled school for three days this week.  Even Wal-mart was closed because of the snow, and that has never happened before.  My daughter posted this scripture on her Facebook page, and it has been on my mind this week.

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways;
he does great things beyond our understanding.
6 He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’
and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’
7 So that everyone he has made may know his work,
he stops all people from their labor.  Job 37:6-7

    He has certainly stopped us from our labor -- no school or work for any of us. We didn't even get in the car.  These days were like a gift of time to relax and enjoy staying up late to watch the Winter Olympics together, shovel snow together, bake brownies, feed the birds, and take pictures in the beautiful snow that covered everything. We spent Valentines Day together instead of having a busy day at work. Thank you, God, for refreshing the earth and our lives! It has been beautiful and now we are rested and eager to get back to our jobs. So now I thank You for the sun that is melting the snow!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Showers of Blessing

    My family in West Virginia has been dealing with a water crisis.  There was a chemical spill up river from where they live, and the water is so toxic that they couldn't even use it for laundry or bathing.  It has been about a week since the spill, and they have been told the water is safe now, but not for pregnant women. So... that doesn't really sound like the problem is over yet -- and I think they are sticking with bottled water for a while.
    I borrowed this picture from my niece's Facebook photos.  She said she heard the rain and used some "Mountaineer ingenuity" to catch it. I heard the same rain pouring down that night here in North Carolina and remembered the rain barrel that always sat at the corner of my grandparents' house when I was growing up -- and hoped that they were able to catch some. I smiled the next day at Katie's photo -- the showers were not wasted at her house!  That made me think of how God provides for us, but sometimes we just sit around and wait for someone to help us instead of going outside to gather those blessings. I know this water was not the total answer, but it sure helped to have tubs full of clean water, freely provided by God, right by the back door.
  1. There shall be showers of blessing:
    This is the promise of love;
    There shall be seasons refreshing,
    Sent from the Savior above.
    • Refrain:
      Showers of blessing,
      Showers of blessing we need:
      Mercy-drops round us are falling,
      But for the showers we plead.
  2. There shall be showers of blessing,
    Precious reviving again;
    Over the hills and the valleys,
    Sound of abundance of rain.
  3. There shall be showers of blessing;
    Send them upon us, O Lord;
    Grant to us now a refreshing,
    Come, and now honor Thy Word.
  4. There shall be showers of blessing:
    Oh, that today they might fall,
    Now as to God we’re confessing,
    Now as on Jesus we call!
  5. There shall be showers of blessing,
    If we but trust and obey;
    There shall be seasons refreshing,
    If we let God have His way.