Happy New Year!

Happy New Year 2014
I found this beautiful quote by Oswald Chambers and thought it was appropriate for the new year, “Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ. Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands, and step out into the Irresistible Future with Him.”

Step out into the irresistible future with Him…what an amazing thought. When we know that our future is settled in Christ what do we have to fear? We can step out in complete confidence knowing that “He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

We can also let our past ‘sleep on the bosom of Christ’ and say with the Apostle Paul, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)

Let’s strive this year to leave the irreparable past in His hands and step out into the irresistible future with Him!

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Are You Rusting?

ship rusting

The right coat of paint would have prevented this ship from rusting!

old-rusting-school-bus-sitting-among-raymond-gehman

Do you feel like this old bus looks? Perhaps you are ‘rusting’!

One of the definitions of rust is to ‘deteriorate or degenerate through neglect or inactivity’. Are you rusting? From this definition, it sounds like a lot of us are!

Free radicals are like rust in our bodies.

Free radicals form in our bodies for several reasons, but the most common is from a poor diet. If free radicals are allowed to run unchecked they cause oxidative damage resulting in a variety of debilitating diseases. In other words, we rust!

People who live near the ocean know how damaging salt water can be to anything made of metal. Without antioxidants in our body, the same oxidative damage that can ruin metal, will ruin us. Just like a coat of the right paint can prevent metal from rusting, antioxidants prevent free radicals from ‘rusting’ our bodies.

Your mom was right – eat your vegetables!

Antioxidants are found in a wide variety of our foods, but mostly in fruits and vegetables. Research has shown that natural sources of antioxidants are always best. Because of our Standard American Diet, filled with fast foods and chemical-laden, prepackaged convenience food, most Americans do not get enough fruits and vegetables. It’s no wonder that heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other life threatening illnesses are on the rise!

To get enough natural antioxidants in our diet we need to eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. When surveyed, approximately 30% of Americans revealed they never eat raw fruits or vegetables! Not only are fruits and vegetables good for general health but many of them have anti-cancer properties as well. Research suggests if you want the most powerful cancer prevention plan, increase your fruit and vegetable servings to 10-12 per day.

Food for thought..

The tomato has over 10,000 phytonutrient components in it. You can’t match that in a supplement. Want to keep your brain sharp? Eat an apple. Research from the University of Massachusetts Lowell suggests that eating apples “may protect against oxidative damage (rusting) that contributes to age-related brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, and may help to maintain brain performance.” Gives a whole new meaning to the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” doesn’t it? Broccoli contains the ingredient sulphorphane which is believed to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Blueberries contain anthocyanins which help protect against cancer, diabetes, bacterial infections, fibrocystic disease, neurological diseases and inflammation. And the list could go on and on. Do your own research – you’ll find hundreds of ways that fruits and vegetables are good for you – not only in preventing diseases – but healing for already occurring oxidative damage.

Let food be thy medicine.

Hippocrates said over 2,000 years ago, “Let food by thy medicine and let medicine by thy food.” Research continues to prove that food is indeed the best medicine. Most importantly, according to Genesis 1:29-31, God created food for our good: “Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”  The secret to longevity (to keep from rusting) is in the food that God created for us!

Are you trying to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in your diet? I’d love for you to share in the comments!

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise Tips

“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”Benjamin Franklin, from the 1735 edition of Poor Richard’s Almanack

Healthy Tip: Add more vegetables in your diet by making soups. I buy several bags of frozen soup mix vegetables and add onions, chicken broth, canned tomatoes and seasonings to make a delicious homemade soup. Incorporate more fruit in your diet by making smoothies. Use frozen berries, bananas, almond milk and a splash of agave nectar – tastes awesome and you get 2-3 servings of fruit in your smoothie.

Wealthy Tip: Try clipping coupons or using coupon sites to save money on your groceries. I love using Southern Savers because you can add coupons to your grocery card electronically. To get the most savings, only buy an item for which you have a coupon when it’s on sale.

Wise Tip: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of waters that yields fruit in its own season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Psalm 100:1-3

The Irresistible Future

Happy New Year!

I found this beautiful quote by Oswald Chambers and thought it was appropriate for the new year, “Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ. Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands, and step out into the Irresistible Future with Him.”

Step out into the irresistible future with Him…what an amazing thought. When we know that our future is settled in Christ what do we have to fear? We can step out in complete confidence knowing that “He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

We can also let our past ‘sleep on the bosom of Christ’ and say with the Apostle Paul,  “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)

Let’s strive this year to leave the irreparable past in His hands and step out into the irresistible future with Him! 

I Want to Be Healthy

My “I Want to Be Healthy” journey has taken a bit of a downward spiral during the holidays, but I have great plans to leave that in the past and step out into health in 2013!  I hope you will join me!

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise Tip

“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”Benjamin Franklin, from the 1735 edition of Poor Richard’s Almanack

Healthy Tip:  I saw Dr. William Sears on a TV program  recently and he gave some great tips on healthy eating using the 4 S’s:  1)  Salmon (wild-caught Alaskan – eat 2 – 3 times per week), 2) Salads, 3) Spices (such as cinnamon, cumin, turmeric), 4) Smoothies (the healthy kind full of delicious fruits and vegetables). In his book Prime-Time Health, Dr. Sears shares with adults and senior citizens how they can live healthy the second half of their lives. This is definitely a book that I’m going to read, and I really like the 4 S’s idea!

Wealthy Tip:  Try Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University this year and get out of debt in 2013!

Wise Tip:  “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” 3 John 1:2

Do you have goals set for the new year? I would love for you to comment!

2013 Goals

A Baby Changes Everything

My new grandson.

My new grandson.

My daughter had a baby boy! The little fellow kept trying to come early and the doctor kept trying to keep him in a little longer…but on Sunday, December 9, he decided he was ready to make his grand entrance – a couple of weeks early! Rowan Knox Kirkpatrick was born at 4:04 pm – 7 lbs, 3 oz, 20 inches long with a dusting of blonde hair with just a tinge of red. He is beautiful! And I am one proud grandmother!

A baby changes everything, doesn’t it? Rowan’s big sister, Lucy, now has to share Mommy and Daddy.  She’s already discovering that she isn’t the center of the universe any more.  She moved out of the nursery into the spare bedroom, and her once girly room will soon become a room filled with trucks, cars, cowboys and superheroes. A baby changes everything.

When we arrived at the hospital shortly after Rowan’s birth (we didn’t have enough notice to get to the hospital in time for the birth), we were impatiently waiting for our daughter and grandson to come from labor and delivery to her room. There wasn’t much activity on the floor at first, but suddenly people went into action everywhere. Nurses and assistants started darting in and out of the room that was assigned to her, and we knew it wouldn’t be long until we saw our daughter, son-in-law and new grandson. Suddenly the elevator door opened and there was our daughter on a stretcher cradling our grandson with proud dad walking along side. I walked toward the stretcher and the nurse asked us to wait just a moment before we entered the room. I couldn’t wait to hold Rowan and to kiss my daughter, but I did manage to steal of glimpse of his sweet little face. A baby certainly changes everything – perspective, priorities and plans. A baby also creates a sense of urgency and expectancy.

I couldn’t help but think about another birth over 2000 years ago. I’m sure Mary and Joseph had a sense of urgency and expectancy, especially since their delivery room was an animal stable! There were no doting grandparents waiting for the first glimpse of their beautiful grandson. No sterile equipment or attending nurses or doctors to assure a safe delivery, no clean bed linens or pain-relieving drugs. Only a starry night sky, animals, angels, shepherds and the cry of a baby that pierced the stillness. God went into action that night – He became a man and forever everything was changed.

Yes, this baby certainly changed everything.

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

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Family Traditions

This is the perfect time of the year for family traditions!  I was very moved by my daughter’s Facebook post on Thanksgiving Day. She wrote,  “I’m thankful for family and for family traditions. I know traditions aren’t always good, but I’m thankful for the ones that surround the holidays in my family. They give a sense of stability each year and something to look forward to. Even though we are celebrating tomorrow, the whole family will be here! And Mammaw is here until Christmas! God has blessed us with so much and I’m truly thankful! He is always faithful to provide for us, sometimes in unlikely ways. I can’t wait until next year, when we get to show our new nephew and three new nieces our traditions and be thankful together! God is so good! I love you all, family!” I wholeheartedly agree with her!

Below are photos from our ‘traditional’ Thanksgiving weekend. And by the way, there was really nothing very healthy on our menu for our Thanksgiving meal! Although I didn’t overdo it on the sweets, I did overeat a bit and boy was I miserable! However, I am committed to getting back on my healthy eating plan and thankful I didn’t have a significant weight gain. I am even more thankful for my beautiful family and our memory-filled time together.

“O give thanks unto The Lord for He is good!”

Do you have family traditions?  I would love for you to comment.

Healthy, wealthy and wise tip for today: Be sure to eat within one hour of rising each morning. Eat every three hours  and eat at the same time everyday. This will balance your hormones and blood sugar levels. However, make sure what you are eating is healthy!

Our “Giving Thanks” decorations.

Cornbread for the dressing baked in my iron skillet. Yum!

Dressing started. Wonder why it’s called ‘dressing’?

My homemade chocolate pecan pie (recipe courtesy of the Neely’s from the Food Network).

Everyone gathered in the kitchen – serving up the Thanksgiving meal buffet style.

Homemade mac and cheese, turkey and dressing, gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, creamed corn, watergate salad, homemade rolls, cranberry sauce, little sweet pickles, olives and Mammaw’s hot potato salad. Delish!

Table laden with homemade desserts: pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, chocolate pecan pie, coconut cake.  How did that store bought pecan pie get in there? Oh well, it’s from Whole Foods so it much be healthy!

Enjoying our meal and each other’s company!

Remember the kids’ table when you were little?  I do!

After our Thanksgiving meal the family gathered for our annual tree hunt at Clark’s Hill Tree Farm.

Hayride to find the perfect tree.

Cousins having fun on the hayride.

On the hunt…

…for the perfect tree!

Found ours! Will it fit in our house??

The boys found theirs!

Our perfect trees are loaded on the wagon and soon will be gracing our homes.

Boiled peanuts and cocoa before we leave the tree farm.

Even the youngest grandkids love boiled peanuts!

Annual measuring of the grandkids. My how they’ve grown!

Our perfect Christmas tree has found its perfect resting place. And it fits!

All lit and  decorated with our traditional ornaments – some nearly 50 years old. Now we just need some presents!

Our annual family picture…the perfect end to a perfect day!

Coconut Oil – A Healthy Alternative

Have you tried coconut oil?  I’ve recently started using it and I love it! It turns out that coconut oil is good for you despite its bad reputation due to high fat content. It is actually one of the healthiest oils you can use.

Coconut oil and weight loss

Research suggests that coconut oil can help you lose weight because –

  • It doesn’t turn to fat in your body – it’s easy fuel for your body to burn
  • It keeps you naturally fuller longer keeping food cravings at bay
  • It fires up your metabolism and give you instant energy

Other benefits of coconut oil

An added benefit – the fats in coconut oil don’t wreak havoc on your cardiovascular system. In fact, some research shows coconut oil helps reduce bad cholesterol. Other benefits are it helps control blood sugar, has anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties and helps absorb other nutrients into the body such as vitamin E.

How to use coconut oil

You can use up to two tablespoons per day in place of other fats. Make sure it’s pure coconut oil with nothing else added. Some people simply take it by the spoonful, but I’ll be honest – that did not appeal to me at all.  I use a couple of teaspoons in my oatmeal in the mornings. It gives it a smooth-as-silk texture and a slightly exotic taste. Delicious…and so much better for you than butter.

Unlike some oils, coconut oil has a higher smoke point so it can be used at higher temperatures. Try it for stir-frying vegetables or cooking healthy pancakes. Yesterday I made pumpkin bread and I spread just a smidge on it right out of the oven – yum! A little bit of coconut oil goes a long way.

One of my favorite ways to use coconut oil is to make popcorn. Turn your pan on medium high heat and melt just enough coconut oil to cover the bottom of your pan. Add 3 popcorn kernels and when one of them pops add enough popcorn to cover a single layer in the bottom of the pan. Add a lid and shake until all kernels are popped. Since coconut oil has a higher smoke point, the popcorn doesn’t burn and it tastes great. Just add a little sea salt, pop in a movie and you’re set.

Use your imagination and I’m sure you’ll be adding this healthy oil to your recipes in no time.

Use it as a beauty treatment

Coconut oil is great for your skin and hair. At night after I exfoliate with baking soda, I rub just a dab of coconut oil over my face and neck. My skin has never felt so soft and supple!! Use it all over just out of the shower for silky smooth skin. Be sure it has time to absorb before you put on your clothes or get in the bed. I haven’t tried this but others swear by it – use it to shave your legs. Also if you need to tame your frizzy hair, rub just a little in the palm of your hands then on your hair. Don’t get it near your scalp or your hair will look oily.

Recipe using coconut oil

I came across this recipe using coconut oil and it immediately became a family favorite. It’s delicious and easy to make.

No Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2/3 cup honey (I use half honey, half agave nectar)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (no skimping or substitutions)
  • 2 cups oats (old fashioned, not quick cooking)
  • 1 1/4 cups chocolate chips (I substitute 1/4 cup of special dark cocoa powder)
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries (I don’t always add, but it is delicious)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut (this was not in the original recipe but it’s delicious)

In medium saucepan melt peanut butter, honey and coconut oil. (If you substitute the dark cocoa powder as I do, add it to this mixture once it starts melting.) Stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat, add oats, chocolate chips (if you don’t used cocoa powder), cranberries and optional coconut. Stir until well mixed and spread in a 9 x 9 pan. Refrigerate to set. (Optional tip – once I’ve spread it in the pan I put in the freezer for 30 minutes to let it set – it’s perfect and ready to eat much quicker than the refrigerator method.) Keep leftovers in the fridge.

If you haven’t used coconut oil, I hope you’ll try it.  If you have, what are some ways you’ve used it? I’d love for you to comment.

“Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.  The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.” Genesis 2:8-9

No Bake Oatmeal Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Yummy – these don’t last long around our house!

An International Adoption Story

My son and daughter-in-law are on an exciting adoption journey! They already have three biological sons but felt that God was calling them to adopt an international orphan. In researching international adoptions they discovered that there are 147 million orphans world-wide! Staggering, isn’t it?!

One day they received an e-mail from an adoption agency and that’s when they saw the picture of these three beautiful girls. It was love at first sight! Not wanting to break up a sibling group, they decided to adopt all three! Some people think they are crazy for adopting one, much less three! I think they are amazing! (Read full story here:  Wilkerson Adoption.)

Their adoption journey began in Ethiopia, but that process was taking so long and there was so much ‘red-tape’ that they decided to look elsewhere. That’s when they came across these three from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (they are three of the five million orphans in the Congo!).  Once all of their requirements are met and funds are raised they could have the girls within 6 months. The biggest obstacle to the adoption at this point is the $50,000 it will take to adopt this sibling group!

Here are some of our daughter-in-laws thoughts from her blog about their Give 3, Save 3 Campaign: “Have you ever stopped to think about how much a few dollars can effect a life?  What if I told you that $3 could change the lives of three little girls in Africa?  It’s going to cost our family around $50,000 to bring our daughters home to Georgia.  We don’t currently have $50,000 in the bank.  But we know that it doesn’t take more than 24 hours for a cause to go viral on the internet.  If 16,000 people gave $3, this entire adoption would be paid for and we’d have nothing standing in the way of bringing our girls home as fast as possible!  Will you help us bring our girls home?  Will you spread the word by posting our story and the link to our video on Facebook, You Tube, your blog, and twitter?”

Here’s a link to their video:  Give 3, Save 3 . I pray you will share it with your audiences and give as the Lord directs you. As our grandsons stated so eloquently in their video, $3 is less than a Starbucks coffee or a Chick-fil-a sandwich! Thanks for your consideration!

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:18

Have you experienced an international adoption? I would love for you to comment.

Vinegar: It’s Not Just for Salads

The Power of an Encouraging Word

In 1872 Dr. Brewster Higley wrote a poem entitled The Western Home, and the following year it was set to music to become the famous American folksong Home on the Range. It was written about his beloved state of Kansas. Most of you have probably heard the words to the chorus: “Home, home on the range where the deer and the antelope play.  Where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day.”

Sounds like a pretty awesome place to live, doesn’t it?

Website for photo coloradohorsecouncil.com

Of course, a place like this doesn’t exist – at least not in this world. Discouraging words come to us at any given time from our family and friends, from students and teachers, from the news media and social media, from our bosses and our co-workers, even strangers.  You might say we live in a place ‘where seldom is heard an encouraging word and the skies are just cloudy all day.’

Today I learned the power of an encouraging word, and it was through an unlikely source – a 16 year old boy.

I work in school administration and my office is just next door to the guidance counselor.  She was out this afternoon and a young man walked in with a piece of paper in his hand. He headed towards the counselor’s door, noticed she wasn’t in and stuck his head in my office. I was just about to cut off his comments with “the counselor isn’t in” when he waved his piece of paper in front of me and said rather excitedly, “Take a look at this!” It was an Algebra II test with a grade of 103 marked in red at the top of the page – a perfect 100 with 3 bonus points. That’s when I realized this young man was looking for someone to share his good news with –  he was hoping for an encouraging word.  I called him by name and told him how wonderful his score was.  He gave me a big grin and said, “Yeah, this is going on the refrigerator!” I grinned back and said, ‘Yes, that’s exactly where it belongs.”  I told him how proud I was of him and to keep up the good work. As he walked out, his step seemed lighter and he said, “Yes, ma’am!” – kind of like someone in the military would say it. I imagine that he whistled as he floated down the hall.

Yes, I had encouraged this young man with my remarks, but I wasn’t prepared for how I felt.  I was exhilarated. My step was lighter and I was happy the rest of the day. I experienced a Home on the Range moment and I liked it!

After this encounter I realized something about myself:  I don’t give encouraging words nearly enough. Most of the time, I’m scolding kids in the hallway or lecturing a student who didn’t turn in something on time.  With my family, I am quick to be negative, slow to be positive. Today I made a silent determination in my heart to be more encouraging, to speak words that are uplifting instead of discouraging.

You may wonder what encouraging words have to do with being healthy. It has everything to do with it. Everyone needs encouragement. It’s in our DNA. Recently people have noticed that I’ve lost weight (19 pounds to be exact) and their encouraging words of “I can tell you’ve lost weight” or “you’re looking good” have really made my day.  It motivates me to stay on course with my I want to be healthy lifestyle.  There’s probably research on it somewhere, but I believe that positive, encouraging words must have a profound physiological affect on our brains.  I know they do on our emotional well-being. Words have the power to hurt or heal. I want my words to heal.

We all want encouraging words spoken to us. Let’s do the same to others.

Have you experienced the power of an encouraging word? I’d love for you to comment.

Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today. Hebrews 3:13a

Healthy, wealthy and wise tips

“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”Benjamin Franklin, from the 1735 edition of Poor Richard’s Almanack

Healthy tip for today (for your body): Do you feel tired, sluggish, experience brain fog or have frequent headaches? If so, you probably aren’t drinking enough water.  Since your body is about 60% water it is important to stay properly hydrated. Make sure to drink at least 8 – 10, 8 oz glasses of water a day.  Once I started properly hydrating, my headaches disappeared and my energy increased.

Wealthy tip for today (enrichment for your soul): Speak a word of encouragement to someone today. It will benefit you and them. “Paul called the disciples together and encouraged them to keep up the good work in Ephesus. Then, saying his good-byes, he left for Macedonia. Traveling through the country, passing from one gathering to another, he gave constant encouragement, lifting their spirits and charging them with fresh hope.” Acts 20:1-2

Wise tip for today (for the brain):  Give your brain a boost with blueberries (don’t you love the alliterative sound of that). According to the article Your Brain on Blueberries by Mary Franz, “Emerging research suggests that compounds in blueberries known as flavonoids may improve memory, learning and general cognitive function, including reasoning skills, decision making, verbal comprehension and numerical ability. In addition, studies comparing dietary habits with cognitive function in adults hint that consuming flavonoids may help slow the decline in mental facility that is often seen with aging and might even provide protection against disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.” Try a handful as a snack or add some to your oatmeal, cereal or salads.  Your brain will thank you!

Saying Goodbye to the Pond

Detouring a bit from my usual blog.  This was originally written November 27, 2010.

Every time I walk to our pond, a few hundred feet downhill from our house, I ask myself why I don’t go down there more often!  It’s so beautiful and peaceful, quite a retreat really, and I rarely walk down to it.  I’m usually just too busy – what a terrible excuse!  During the fall or winter months, when the leaves are falling or gone, I can see it from my kitchen window as I wash dishes.  During the spring and summer months, when the trees are loaded with leaves, I can’t see it – but I know it’s there.   The pond is constant, tranquil, beautiful and quiet.  It never calls to me through the kitchen window, “Please come see me!”   It’s simply there and when I want to, or the occasion calls for it, I walk down.

Today was one of those occasions.  We have just over a month until we move out of our home of nearly 18 years, and since the whole family was here, I wanted all of us to walk down to the pond.  I was very nostalgic, knowing it was the last time we would take this trek as a family.  So down the hill (“over the river and through the woods” comes to mind right now) we walked to the pond.  One of our favorite spots is a clearing on the back side of the pond where a huge tree stands.  We buried our dog, Harley, under it when the kids were younger.  Today, the grandkids tried to climb a vine that had grown around the tree.  We all enjoyed the fun, even though I had to fight back tears thinking of leaving this place.

Then I stood and just looked at the pond.  Hardly a ripple marred its smooth, glass-like surface. I was reminded of the first day I saw it and fell in love.  I spotted my husband and oldest son across the pond standing on the levee.  He later told me they were reminiscing of times spent there fishing and camping. We took lots of pictures and then started our walk back up the hill to the house.  I stayed a little behind the others, turning around from several different angles to catch final glimpses of the pond. I was taking mental snap-shots to tuck away for future use. I didn’t cry, but I wanted to. I thought of how much I would miss that pond that I rarely went to see!

Walking back up the hill, the thought came to me that my relationship with Jesus is much like my relationship with our pond.  He is constant, ever present whether I can see Him or not.  I know He calls to me, “Please come see Me,” but I don’t always listen.  Of course, I go to Him when there’s an occasion – like a crisis or a problem. But just to sit with Him and enjoy His presence – I’m usually just too busy. What a shameful excuse!  When I do spend time with Him I am awestruck at how beautiful, tranquil, loving and glorious He is!

Today I was also reminded of the first time I fell in love with Jesus, how I couldn’t wait to spend time with Him.  Slowly things changed. Life happened. Ignoring Him during the week, I was content with just a weekend love affair at church. I had turned away from my first love.

I want that ‘first love’ relationship again. I want to see Jesus more often. I remember the times that He has come to my aid and seen me through difficulties and times spent with Him in worship.  But I want to make new memories – to see Him in His beauty, majesty and glory in a fresh way. I don’t want just mental snap-shots to tuck away for future use. I want an active, on-going love relationship with my Savior.  Lord, may it be so!

I guess it’s time to say goodbye to the pond.  I am so thankful that I will NEVER have to say goodbye to Jesus!

Postscript:

We moved to our new home in late December of 2010.  Guess what?  There’s a pond just down the hill from our house that we have access to whenever we like!  I’ve only been there once…some things never change.

Have you ever had to say goodbye to something you hold dear?  I’d love for you to comment.

john pavlovitz

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