Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Contented - Part 2

 In our post yesterday, Contented, we talked about learning  "in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." (Philippians 4:11.) Last week, our family was put in a position to choose contentment regarding our Christmas celebrations.

Each year we celebrate Christmas at our house, which begins with the opening of presents and is followed by our Christmas meal.  The Christmas dinner menu is almost always the same.  Additional items can be added to the menu, but none of the original items can be deleted by word of the Supreme Ruler of the Menu, Emmie Davis.  I usually begin cooking a few days before Christmas, working around my night-shift work schedule.

This year was no different.  The menu was determined and I began cooking on Monday, December 20th.  The dressing and spinach were in their casserole dishes, ready to be baked.  The turkey had been cleaned and was ready to be placed in the brine overnight.

On December 22nd, I had one errand to run.  I needed to run by the Urgent Care for them to look at my burning ears and throat, get a prescription for the antibiotics I need every year in the winter, get a negative Covid test (since I had been exposed to a +Covid co-worker) and come home to finish the rest of the cooking.

Only I didn't get a prescription for an ear infection, I received instead instructions on how to deal with my Covid infection. (You can read my post about that here.)

Our family was faced with a choice.  Could we be content with Christmas in a way other than how we always celebrated it?

The first recommendation offered by our family was to reschedule Christmas two weeks from now.  Having already cooked most of the holiday meal, and with a 20+ pound turkey thawed in the refrigerator, I wasn't thrilled with that solution.

The next suggestion was for everyone to come over as usual and I would just sequester myself in the back of the house.  No one was happy with that idea.

Then our daughter Emmie came up with the winning plan.  She suggested that since all of us are either vaccinated, or have had Covid or both, we should still meet for Christmas.  She also suggested that we open presents and eat outside and use social distancing.  I, of course, would wear a mask the whole time, as well.

Our son and his wife, Jessica, graciously offered their patio, which was spacious enough for all of us, and our son even decorated it with garland and Christmas lights and stockings, to add to the festivities.

The ever-present Baldwin County breeze blew the Covid germs away from us as we opened presents and ate our usual Christmas fare outside.  My husband summed the day up in this text to our family:

"Yesterday was a bellweather day in our family's history.  By God's grace, we went from 'we'll postpone for two weeks,' to having one of our best Christmas's ever.  The Lord gave us perfect weather, everyone adapted seamlessly, and we had yet another happy time together.

So, thanks to the Lord for the gift of yesterday, that wonderfully reflected THE GIFT.

Thanks to Emmie for the idea and the inspiration.  Brilliant!

Thanks to Noah and Jess for the accommodations and hard work.  Wow!

Thanks to Mom for getting up early, despite Covid, and cooking.  And for holding up so well all day long.  Of course!

Thanks to Marie for ensuring Sally is with us, and for resurrecting Aunt Margaret's Chex mix.  Dangerous!

Thanks to Jack, Emma, Ewan, and Evelyn for having such a great attitude and being so much fun despite the changes we had to make.  And I'm sure y'all helped get ready.  Super!

Sally, Ellie and Mr. Bates
Thanks to the Three Wise Pups for spiritually bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Woof! 

Thanks to everyone for the amazing generosity expressed through the family to one another. Incredible!

As I said last night, God has given to us an amazing family.  I know we don't take it for granted, but I know we all want to appreciate it more.  During all the activity yesterday, I sat back for a moment and took it all in.  Gratitude and thanksgiving was just not enough to do justice for such grace bestowed upon us.

'Now thanks be unto God for His unspeakable Gift' (II Corinthians 9:15). ' "

Our family made the choice to take a difficult, unexpected situation and see it as a wonderful adventure together.  We collectively made the choice to be content, and content we were.

"Thanks be unto to God for His unspeakable Gift" indeed.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021


 Just what does it mean to be contented?

Webster's dictionary gives the definition as: feeling or showing satisfaction with one's possessions, status, or situation.

Our son Noah and his wife, Jessica
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians that he had "learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."

A friend of ours asked our son, who had been stuck overnight in the Atlanta airport, how he slept. Our friend speculated that our son, a US Marine, would give this response:

"On cushioned airport chairs in an air conditioned airport with a roof and restrooms that are private and cleaned regularly and good food available as far as I could see and not a single landmine, IED, or attempted enemy assault.  What do you mean, 'How did I sleep?' "

Of all people I know, our son, through his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the training of the US Marine Corps, has truly learned "in whatsoever state...therewith to be content."  He has learned that contentment comes from within, not from without.

So often we think of contentment as the state of having everything we need, or even most things which we desire, but contentment, in actuality, is a choice.  A learned choice to be content with the moment at hand.

How do we learn that?  How do we simply decide that whatever circumstances come our way we will be content where we are found?  The same way we learn other things, by receiving and believing information, by application of the theory into practicality and by repetition.

We don't learn contentment from a staunch stoicism to "take it on the chin."  We don't learn it by just steeling ourselves against whatever goes against our thoughts of contentment.  We learn it by realizing it is a conscious choice on our part, not for us to be or do something, but rather to trust in One Who is and Who does in and through us.  Then we make the choice to be content in Him, over and over and over again.  And over and over and over again we find our hearts filled with peace and joy.

We willingly trust that the Lord will work His will and His way in our hearts, in our lives and in the lives of those around us.  Then as we know His faithfulness more fully, we realize "This is the Lords doing; and it is marvelous in our eyes," (Psalm 118:23).  Our emotions don't always follow this line of faith, because that part of us hasn't been redeemed yet, but in our spirits - joined to the Spirit of God - we will know peace, His peace.

"And we know that all things work together for good 
to them that love God,
to them who are the called according to His purpose."
Romans 8:28

Monday, December 27, 2021


 I was reading an article the other day of a couple who, post retirement, were moving out of the home in which they had lived for decades to move to a smaller house.  The gentleman told of the process of deciding what to keep and what to give away or throw away.  He said that in the process he realized he had something he never knew he had...enough.

I could immediately understand what he meant.  That dawning came to me when we first started backpacking.  Carrying everything you need on your back for several days causes one to separate what is needed from what is wanted.  While there were a few "wanted" items which made it into my backpack, mostly what comprised my twenty-five pound pack weight were necessary items.  I learned that I could easily go without many things which previously I might have considered absolutely necessary.  I realized it is possible for "enough" to be comprised of so much less than I thought.

In truth, for those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is only one thing that comprises "enough" and that is Him.  We can lose all else, but as long as we have Him we will have love, peace, joy, goodness, longsuffering, gentleness, meekness, temperance and faith.  He alone is all we need for every moment of every day, including the dark nights and the sunny afternoons.

Trust in the Lord always, for having Him we have all.

"For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the Head of all principality and power."

Colossians 2:9-10

Sunday, December 26, 2021

The Good King

I have always liked the Christmas song, "Good King Wenceslas".  It has a nice tune, beautiful harmony and a sweet story.

I didn't know until recently that Wenceslas actually existed, though he was a Bohemian Earl, not a king. Wenceslaus I or Vaclav the Good was Duke of Bohemia from 921 until his death when he as killed with a lance by his brother Boleslaus the Cruel.  After his assassination, he was posthumously declared a monarch.

Apparently, Wenceslas was well known for his kind acts.  He would rise up from his bed every night and with only one chamberlain, or "page," went around to God's churches and gave generously to widows, orphans, those in prison and those afflicted by difficulties.  He was considered the father of all the wretched and the song reflects his good acts.

The story of the Christmas carol is that Wenceslas is out with his page and sees a poor man gathering "winter fuel."  The monarch and the page bring food, wine and pine logs to the poor man even though there were "rude winds...and bitter weather."

At one point the page says to the monarch:

"Sire, the night is darker now
and the wind blows stronger
Fails my heart I know not how
I can go no longer."

Wenceslas answers the page:
"Mark my footsteps, good my page
Tread though in them boldly
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly."

As the page followed in his master's footsteps, he found that "heat was in the very sod, which the saint had printed."

This is the part that struck me so much this year, Wenceslas telling the page to mark his footsteps and the page feeling that heat was in the very sod where the saint has walked.  It reminded me of these verses:

"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him."  Colossians 2:6

"For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." Colossians 2:9

There are times in our lives where the "winter's rage" of life blows too strongly against us and we don't know how we can go on.  But the Lord calls us not to walk in our own strength, but in the "power of His might." (Ephesians 6:10.)  We are called to plant our feet in His footsteps, as it were, and trust Him for the strength and power to do what He has called us to do.  When we do, like the page in the carol, we will know His power, His strength and His enabling to "mark" His footsteps.

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."
Philippians 2:13

Thursday, December 23, 2021


 How can the word "Positive" bring such negative feelings?  I'm not sure, I only know it certainly did this morning.

I had gone to the Urgent Care expecting to be given antibiotics for what I thought was an ear infection.  I am prone to ear and sinus infections at the beginning of winter and I assumed this was what was causing my ears and throat to burn.

Also, I needed a negative Covid test to return to work since a coworker came down with Covid during a shift we shared a few nights ago.

Only I didn't get a negative test.

"I am so sorry, the test was positive," the physician's assistant said.

"What?" I exclaimed, more with incredulity than with lack of understanding.

It couldn't be!  I couldn't be Covid positive two days before Christmas.  We have a Christmas dinner for eleven partially cooked already!  The 20+ pound turkey is resting quietly on the shelf in the refrigerator just waiting to be put in brine tonight.  Almost all of the presents are wrapped and the stockings are waiting for their stuffed debut.

But the play has been canceled.  We have Covid in the house.  

I texted the result to Glen from the examination room.  I had just texted him that I did not have hypertension (which I already knew) when the PA came in with my Covid result.

"I DO however have Covid" was my next text.  

"Oh..." was his response.  Followed by the very best thing he could have said...

"Well...'This is the Lord's doing'... "

Which I followed with the remainder of Psalm 118:23: 

" ' is marvellous in our eyes.' "

Psalm 118:23 has been my life verse for decades and it represents to me a choice.  No matter what the circumstances, being diagnosed with a pandemic virus, having all our Christmas plans fall apart, being isolated from family for ten days during the most family-oriented season of the year, there is one choice.  That choice is to believe that "This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes," or not.

Moe than once the Scriptures tell us that "as for God, His way is perfect." (2 Samuel 22:31, Psalm 18:30.)

If His way is perfect, and He allowed this virus to take up temporary residence in my body, how can I not choose to see that as a marvelous thing?  He knows things I do not know.  Perhaps if our family Christmas celebration were allowed to go as scheduled, some or all, of my family may have been injured or killed in a terrible car accident.  I do not know the future, but the Lord does, as if it were happening this very second.  My role is not to know these things and decide, but to know Him and decide to trust Him.

One thing is for certain, I have never clung to that verse by faith and been disappointed for doing so, and I have faith I won't now either.  Do I understand how He will work the details out?  Not a clue.  Do I need to know?  No, He will work in and through us to accomplish His will and His way in His time.  My only duty is to trust Him by faith that He is perfectly faithful.

Simply Trusting

Words by
Edgar Page Stites 
Music by 
Ira David Sankey

Simply trusting every day;
Trusting through a stormy way;

Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

    Trusting as the moments fly,
    Trusting as the days go by,
    Trusting Him, whate'er befall,
      Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Brightly doth His Spirit shine
Into this poor heart of mine;
While He leads I cannot fall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Singing if my way be clear,
Praying if the path be drear;
If in danger, for Him call,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Trusting Him while life shall last,
Trusting Him till earth is past,
Till His gracious advent call,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Simply Trusting

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Ewan Davis and Jim Kelly

 Ewan Davis and Jim Kelly could not be more different, but in the most important respect, they are so very much alike.

Jim Kelly was a resident at a local nursing facility when we first started doing services
there 19 years ago.  Jim was a vibrant, effusive man who was active until he was 98 when a stroke confined him to a wheelchair. The stroke, however, only diminished his strength.  His mind was as sharp as a tack and the twinkle in his eye and light in his spirit were as bright as ever. F
ull of laughter, kindness and love of life, he was a joy and pleasure to all who knew him.  We were blessed to know him for three years.  His love for life was contagious and he taught us all that the love and wonder of life was not based on what was around us, but upon what -- or better, Who -- was within us.

Ewan Davis is an energetic five year old and our youngest grandson.  He is kind, loving and thoughtful and has an impish grin that will make you smile back, whether you feel like it or not.  His laughter is infectious.

Last night our family met at the house of our youngest daughter, Emmie, to decorate her tree.  This has become a Christmas tradition to which we all look forward.  Ewan, of course, was there.  Ewan loves to have his family around him and loves to be involved in what the grown-ups are doing.  At one point he could contain his exuberance no longer and stated, "This is the best night, ever!"  With Ewan, this was not hyperbole, this was what he was actually feeling.  It is not the first time I have heard him express this sentiment and it reminded me so much of Jim Kelly.

Jim Kelly made a conscious choice in his life to see the best in everything.  Like Ewan, I heard him say on more than one occasion, "This is the best day of my life!"  Also like Ewan, this was not just a sentence, it was the expression of his true feelings at the moment.  The man in the wheelchair, living in a nursing facility, was so full of the love of God and knowledge of His goodness, that each day was "the best day of my life".

If we believe that the Lord is "working all things together for good" (Romans 8:28) in our lives, then we must also believe that He is actively working in this moment, and each and every  moment.  This is exactly the belief that leads to the "best day of my life" outlook.  God is working right now, wherever I am, whether in a wheelchair in a nursing home, or at my aunt's house decorating her Christmas tree.  

Am I headed to work knowing it will be a busy night, with many babies to come and not quite enough nurses?  God is working in that very shift, each of those 12 hours, each of those 720 minutes, even each of those 43, 200 seconds.  He has a lesson to teach me and truth to reveal to me in the place and time He has placed me that I can learn no where else.  Not only that, He also has some blessing He wants me to be to others in that same place and time.  He has prepared the possibility of "the best day of my life" if only I will trust Him by faith to see that.  Jim Kelly, in his years of experience with the Lord knew this and Ewan Davis in his experience of joyful childhood, knows this, too.  I pray that, like Jim and Ewan, I will know this more and more each day.

"This is the Lord's doing, it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day which the Lord hath made,
we will rejoice and be glad in it."
Psalm 118:23, 24

Friday, December 3, 2021

Seen, Heard, AM

For the last few days our daughter's dog, Sally, has been critically ill.  Sally spent four days at the emergency vet requiring close supervision, frequent lab tests and a blood transfusion.  We waited with prayerful anticipation for each update in her progress.  Friends across the country joined us in praying for the healing of this little dog.

Sally is a sweet dog, a combination of multiple breeds, and was rescued from an area animal shelter by our daughter, Marie.  No dog could have had a greater transformation of situation than sweet little Sally.  When Marie adopted her, she was infected with heart worms and Marie nursed her back to health as she recovered. She has loved and cared for her as much as we love and care for our dog Ellie.  Thankfully, Marie was able to bring Sally home this week, and while she requires much medication and testing still, she is much better and with Marie.

Loving a dog, and more importantly, having loved and raised children, I knew the anguish Marie faced as Sally was critically ill.   I knew she was broken-hearted to be apart from her dog when she was ill.  I knew she was tempted to fear the worst may happen. I knew, also, that she also trusted in the Lord to work out His perfect way and will in her life and in Sally's life. I knew, because I have been there.  I have been there with our dog Sparrow, and with my children.  In fact, I was there once with Marie.

She was eight-years-old when she fell off the top of a sliding board and received a serious concussion.  As she lay unconscious in the Emergency Room, all the fears that a mother could face assaulted me.  There was only one place I could reasonably turn and that was to the Lord.  He alone could be that "shelter in a time of storm".  In that moment, as in every other time I have trusted Him, He was completely faithful.  In fact, Marie had such a miraculous recovery - and awakening from her unconscious state -- the Neurologist told me he had never seen anything like it.

The day Sally came home, I had read these verses in Exodus:

"And the Lord said, 'I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians."

"And Moses said unto God, 'Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is His name?  What shall I say unto them?'"

"And God said unto Moses, 'I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.' "  Exodus 3:7,8,13,14

As I read these words, they seemed to jump off the page.  "I have surely seen..."  The Lord knew the sufferings of the Israelites in Egypt,  He knew their difficulties in bondage. He had "heard their cry".  

His response was I AM.  

His response is always I AM.  

He is the complete provision of everything we need, He is the complete fulfillment of everything we desire.  "Thou openest Thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing." (Psalms 145:16.) 

He sees, He hears and in all our situations, as we turn to Him by faith, He is.  He is all we will every need in every thing we will ever face.  

Trust in the Lord always, for having Him, we have all.

All My Springs

words and music by Glen Davis

All my springs are in Thee,
You are the fount of my being,
And I look only to Thee to find
fulfillment and meaning. . .
For all my springs are in Thee,
All my springs are in Thee.

Rivers of purest joy
flow swiftly into our spirits,
And as the mercy tides roll,
Your voice, Lord,
Oh, I can hear it. . .
For all my springs are in Thee,
All my springs are in Thee.

So let me drink, Lord, of Thee,
o, lead me beside Thy Wellspring;
And in the water I'll see
reflections of Christ so lovely. . .

For all my springs are in Thee,
All my springs are in Thee.

All my springs are in Thee.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Photo - Beside the Still Waters

 This photo was taken early in our kayaking adventures.  We weren't yet comfortable enough for large expanses of water, but sought out creeks and smaller rivers.  A friend recommended Chickasabogue Creek to us and we decided to give it a try.

It was an easy drive and there was a nice put-in for kayaks.  Glen and I and our youngest daughter, Emmie, then eleven, unpacked the kayaks.  I was very surprised at how cool the water was.  It was delightful on a humid Mobile day.  As the creek curved into the area we see in this photo, I was struck by the stillness of the water and how clearly the reflection could be seen.  My camera was always with me in those days and I quickly snapped this photo.  

Taking a photo on a kayak isn't always an easy thing.  As you let go of your oars to frame the photo, the kayak begins to drift with the current, meaning whatever was nicely centered in your viewfinder is drifting as well.  Thankfully, I was able to capture the beauty of this area to serve of a reminder of that day.

I actually don't need a reminder though, because the events after the kayaking comprise a story we often regale in our family.

We had borrowed our son's truck to transport our kayaks for the trip.  Before we started we placed his keys in the hold of the kayak, thinking they would be dry there.  Apparently, we did not close the top well, because water leaked into the hold.  (Remember, we were still new to kayaking at that time.)

We didn't realize this until we were getting the kayaks out of the water and retrieving our belongings.  We secured the kayaks in the back of the truck used the fob to unlock the door.  The water in the fob set off the car alarm.  Several yards down from the put-in was a swimming and picnic area.  There were many people in the water and even more at the picnic tables and I believe everyone of them turned to look at what caused the offending noise.

We would have loved to make the noise stop, but we could not cancel the alarm.  We tried everything we could think of, but it would not stop.  We finally decided to just leave as quickly as we could with the alarm blaring.

As we were leaving, we had a choice in exits.  We had never been there before so we didn't know the one we chose would take us right into the picnic area and in front of all the swimmers.  Irritated looks met us as we passed by, our alarm sounding at its loudest.  

We were  a little nervous passing the entry to the park, fearful the attendant might think we had stolen the truck, but there was no haling us down, no car in hot pursuit as we left the park.  We continued the ten miles down the interstate with the alarm still crying out, which it did until finally the battery in the fob died.

Our son was happy to find out we had ruined his alarm system, and I don't believe we ever borrowed his truck again. But now, years later, the event is something Glen and Emmie and I laugh about whenever we remember it.  The embarrassment of the moment has led to moments of shared laughter and reminiscence.  

The calm quiet stillness of the photo could not predict our frantic - and loud- departure from the park, but I remember both with fondness.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

So, Santa Doesn't Really Do That, Then?

This post is a repeat from December 12, 2012.

This past weekend our daughter Emmie told our five-year-old granddaughter Emma that the present she had for her was the biggest present under the tree so far.  Immediately Emma had to rush into the living room to inspect the dimensions of all the presents.

"I saw it!  It is the biggest one, it's in the back, behind the tree!"  Emmie and I then causually entered into a conversation regarding our need to finish wrapping presents.  Emma brought that conversation to a dead stop with this question that was poised more as a statement:

"So, Santa doesn't really do that, then?"

Emmie and I just looked at each other and I explained to Emma that not all presents come from Santa, that in fact most presents come from other people who love you and want to give you a gift for Christmas.  Emma's disbelief about Santa was brought to my memory last night when I heard a preacher ask "The word believe can be tricky, can't it?"

Sometimes you may believe something, but not nearly enough to support it.  Take for example a political candidate.  You may believe in them enough to vote for that person, but you may not believe in them enough to put signs in your yard or stickers on your car.  You may not talk to others about them encouraging others to vote for them as well.

There are those who "believe" in the Lord Jesus to the point they believe He was a good man.  They may believe He did good things. But they don't believe in Him as Lord and Savior.  Some may even believe He was a prophet.  Many of those who heard Him speak and saw His miracles believed this. 

There were some who believed He did His works through the power of Satan.  These were the religious rulers of the day who could not accept that He was from God because He spoke against the very attitudes and actions of their hearts.

The Scriptures tell us that even the devils believe in Jesus, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble, But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" (James 2:19,20), but theirs is not a belief that leads to salvation.

Then there were a very few who believed that He was the Son of God who was come to be the Savior of the world.  It was these very few men through whom the Gospel was sent to all the world after the Lord's resurrection.

What about us?  Is our belief a head belief?  Do we believe Jesus Christ to be a "good man", a "prophet"?  Or do we believe Him to be the living Son of God, the "Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world?"  Do we each have a heart-belief?

Make no mistake, there is coming a day when  every single knee shall bow and every single tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  Some will do so with the joyful heart of a believer.  Some will do so with the broken heart of one who realizes they should have believed.

Emma may wonder if Santa really "does that".  There is no wondering about Jesus.  He is, He does and He will eternally do so.

"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, 
and given Him a name which is above every name:  
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, 
and things under the earth;  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, 
to the glory of God the Father." 
Philippians 2:9-11

Monday, November 29, 2021

Ebeneezer and Denise

(A Repeat from 2012, and yes, another Scrooge story!)

This time of year my husband and I have a stack of Christmas movies we would love to watch, but life never affords the time for that.  Maybe, if we are fortunate, we can manage to watch one or two of them.  When we are trying to decide which one to watch first it never fails we both choose the same one -- A Christmas Carol.

But we are very particular about the version we want to see, we love the 1951 version starring Alastair Sim as Ebeneezer Scrooze.  Alastair Sim was able to perfectly portray both the mean spirited harshness of the unrepentant Scrooze as well as he did the joyous and generous redeemed Scrooze.

One of my favorite scenes comes at the end of the movie.  Ebeneezer, with a heart that has opened up to the Christ-child of Christmas, sits at his desk waiting for his clerk Bob Cratchit to come in for the morning.  He plans to pretend to be angry but is going to raise Bob's salary and offer to help him raise his family as well.  He is giddy with delightful anticipation.

I once had the same exact feeling.

The hospital were I worked had a department for childbirth education and community marketing and my friend Denise was the Department Head. She was a nurse as well as a lactation consultant and had always wanted to work in Labor & Delivery although she had never had the opportunity to do so.  I worked in this department with Denise for a year until the hospital downsized and I returned to my job in Labor & Delivery.

Shortly after I returned to L&D, I became the Assistant Nurse Manager of the unit.  Within a few months, we had a job opening and knowing that Denise was looking for a clinical position, I suggested her to my Nurse Manager.  My manager loved the idea and wanted us to offer Denise the position.  I asked Anne if she would let me make the offer to Denise, and she graciously agreed.

I was almost skipping as I walked down the hall and across the crosswalk to Denise's office.  I had to work hard to keep myself from giggling.  I was "as giddy as a schoolboy" as Scrooge said of himself that Christmas morning. I knew that I was about to bring unbelievable pleasure and joy not only to Denise, but also to all those who would be blessed by her care.  Having worked with her for years, I knew that our nurses would find working with Denise a great blessing as well.

I had to wait a few minutes until she was free, but then I sat on the familiar love seat across from her desk.  I can't even remember how I brought it up, or what I said, but I will never forget the look on her face.

She cried.  I cried.  It was a dream come true for her and I was so thrilled to have been given the gift by my manager to be the one to make the offer to her.

Denise came to work with us, and to show you her incredible impact, the next year, from a unit of twenty nurses, she received fourteen nominations for nurse of the year.  She went on to receive the Nurse of the Year award from the hospital.

Of all the wonderful moments I have shared with Denise through the years, this one will always stand out.  The joy, the absolute giddiness I felt in walking over to office was amazing.  The knowledge of how what I was about to do was going to impact her affected me tremendously.

This is our Lord's response to us.  It is His great joy and desire in doing things for us.  I was joyful about Denise because I knew her, I loved her, I knew what her response would be.  How much more does our Heavenly Father know us?  How much more does He love us?  How much more does He have to give us? We cannot imagine the joy He feels to be involved in our lives, to meet our needs, to be a part of us.

"Fear not, little flock; 
for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
Luke 12:32

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Planting Seeds Only We Can Sow


During the holiday season there are three books I love to read.  One is Charles Dicken's classic "A Christmas Carol."  I have read this book each year for more years than I can remember.  The movie version (the one with Alastair Sim) is by far our favorite Christmas movie.  I never fail to enjoy the story of Scrooge's transformation from miserly curmudgeon to the friendly, and generous, keeper of Christmas.

Another book I read each Christmas is "The River Whispers Her Name," by our friend Jay Grelen.  This is a sweet story of a family's Christmas miracle set on the rivers in our area.  Reading the familiar area names makes it even more special to read.

In the last few years, though, an additional book has been added to the tradition, "Jacob T. Marley" by William Bennett.  This book is a prequel of sorts to "A Christmas Carol."  Being such a fan of the Dickens novel, I was quite sure I would NOT like this book when our son suggested it to us.  However, after reading it, I realized what a perfect complement it is to Dickens's Christmas Story.  In fact, I prefer to read the Marley story first before the Scrooge story.  Glen prefers to read them in the opposite order.  The two books are so perfectly intertwined either order is perfect.

In "Jacob T. Marley," there is a scene where someone sees Scrooge through the window of his counting house, but does not choose to have any interaction with him.  The person goes on to tell someone else, who once knew Scrooge, about the sighting though.  Watching this happen, unseen, are the spirits of the ghost of Christmas Past and Jacob Marley.

The Ghost tells Marley that the person seeing Scrooge missed an opportunity.  He goes on to say that the person could have gone into the counting house and offered condolences to Scrooge on Marley's death.  When Jacob suggests Scrooge might have chased the man out again, the Spirit told Jacob that the man's kindness might not have had an effect on Scrooge in that moment, but "that experience might have worked within him."

As more of Scrooge's past flows by, the Ghost goes on to tell Jacob that in life there are times where two lives are meant to cross paths.  He states that what is meant to be accomplished in those lives can only be done by those two people.  He finishes the discussion by telling Jacob that each of us "have opportunities that we alone can fulfill".

Even though I have read this book several times, this passage especially struck me this year.  The thought that each of us has "opportunities that we alone can fulfill" pressed upon my mind.  There are counting houses, as it were, that we are meant to go into.  There are people we are meant to interact with, if only briefly, to plant a seed, to display a kindness that might work within the heart of another to draw them to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  The tiny seed we plant may be part of what causes their miraculous transformation, just as Scrooge was transformed.

Perhaps our little seed is just a kind word, a cheerful countenance, a helping hand or a word of encouragement.  We will not know in this life how mighty a tree grows from our little seed, but if done with  a good and faithful heart, we can know the Lord will use it to accomplish His will and His way.

Let us keep our eyes open, especially in this holiday season, for opportunities to sow seeds wherever we can.  Our world needs love and kindness more than ever and, through Christ, we have an endless supply of both.

"Give, and it shall be given unto you; 
good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, 
shall me give into your bosom.  
For with the same measure that ye mete 
withal it shall be measure to you again."
Luke 6:38

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Photo - O Give Thanks Unto the Lord

This picture was taken one day when we were kayaking along the delta in our area.  Five rivers come together to form a wonderful place to explore the water and enjoy the scenery.  When I took this picture I think I more wished to have the bird in it than expected to.  When I saw the results, I was so pleasantly surprised.


Friday, November 19, 2021

Photo - Confident of This Very Thing

Years ago I purchased my first digital camera.  I loved taking pictures with it and exploring the possibilities it presented.  I also enjoyed adding Scripture to the pictures.  I came across a few of them the other day and decided to start posting one or two a week and perhaps telling the story behind the picture.

This picture was taken in our back yard when the ligustrum was in bloom.  Glen and I planted these 42 perimeter plants when we first moved into our house, 29 years ago.  Little did we know at the time we were both allergic to ligustrum.  I now dread seeing the first blooms come on the plants, but when they are not in bloom, I love their glossy green leaves and the privet hedge they provide.  They were about 12 inches tall when we planted them and now they are easily 20 feet tall.  In the spring, when the little white flowers appear, the plants are full of bees.  I enjoy that our plants help to provide sustenance for the busy bees.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

God Has A Plan

God always has a plan.  

He has a plan for His children.  He has a plan for those who choose not to accept His Son.  He has a plan for this earth.  We may not see it, or know it, but one day we will see how very perfect His plan for us has been.

As I look back at the path my life has taken through the decades, I can see God's hand working in my life so much more clearly than I could see at the time.  Few things bring this to light more than the hymns.

Hymns have always been a great part of my life.  I grew up in a time before choruses were used in churches.  We sang the old hymns, many of which were written out of great pain and sorrow.  I grew up in a small church and was quickly plucked out of the congregation, placed in the choir and told to "sing what the lady next to you sings."  I learned to sing harmony from the old hymns. The first song I played on the piano was a hymn.

The most significant hymn in my life was sung the day of our wedding.  We didn't really want a person to stand up and sing, because we wanted our wedding to focus on the Lord Jesus Christ, not on any one -or two- persons.  So before we came into the sanctuary, we had the congregation sing the hymn, "The Solid Rock." This hymn was a foreshadowing of what would comprise a great part of our ministry together.

Someone asked me recently where Glen and I attend church.  I answered that we "take church to people."  We do several services each week in nursing homes and assisted living centers, "taking church" to those who are unable to get out and go to church.  In those services we sing several hymns.  We once estimated that we sing about 1472 hymns each year.  That is 26,496 hymns since we began almost 19 years ago, give or take a verse or two.

Many of these hymns I have sung for so long, I know them by heart.  Interestingly, for many of these I have sung the harmony to the hymn so long that I no longer remember the melody.  I would have to look in the hymnal to remind myself how the tune actually goes.

Who would have thought, while my bridesmaids, my father and I waited in the foyer of the church, singing that old hymn with the guests, it would be a symbol of something Glen and I would share over and over and over again.  God always has a plan.  


"As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: 
He is a buckler to all them that trust in Him."

2 Samuel 22:31

"I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live:  
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being." 

Psalm 104:33

The Solid Rock

written by Edward Mote

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus' name.

When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale
my anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ the solid rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, His blood
support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay

On Christ the solid rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the solid rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
On Christ the solid rock I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Thank the Lord for the Lady in Savannah


Our Christmas Tree is up.  Because of our schedules this year, we put it up a little early.  I wanted to have time to decorate it without the stress of having it finished at a certain time.  

Glen and I really enjoy decorating our tree because it is an opportunity to remember places we have been, things we have done and people we have known that might have been lost to us without the reminders on the tree.  Our tree contains memories of our almost forty-three years together.  Children's and grandchildren's handprints can be found hanging from the branches.  Pictures of all our family, including dogs, can be seen.  Concert tickets, Boston Red Sox baseball tickets, Magic bands from DisneyWorld,  logos from businesses in almost every city we have visited (most of these involve some very good food) can be found as well.  Approximately 1000 "ornaments" adorn the branches of our tree, some are "regular" ornaments, but the ones saved from the events of our lives are the ones most special to us. The older we get, the more these memories mean to us.  

You may wonder how are tree became such a mix of balls, candy canes and "stuff".  Here is the post telling that story:

Monday, December 1, 2008

Santas, concert tickets and the lady in Savannah...

I am sitting here snuggled up with our dog Sparrow, looking at our 28th Christmas tree.
 Although we have been married thirty years this year, we got married five days after 
Christmas, so that first year we didn't have a tree together. The year Marie was born, 
four days before Christmas, we didn't have a tree, either. So this year makes our 28th 

Our tree is very similar to most, I suppose. It has its share of Santas and holly wreaths 
and candy canes. But our tree is not just a Christmas tree, it is a Life tree. Let me explain 
what I mean by that.

When I was eighteen, I went to visit Savannah, Georgia right after Christmas. While I 
was there I attended several Open Houses -- where people open up their homes for 
celebrations. At one of these festive occasions I saw the most unusual Christmas tree I 
had ever seen. It was covered with movie tickets, theater tickets, trinkets and 
memorabilia of all types. The lady who lived in the house was in her eighties and as 
lively and full of spirit as anyone I had ever met and I asked her about her unusual tree.

 "It is a celebration of my life", she answered. She went on to tell me that at all 
occasions in her life she would take some sort of memento to place on her tree, some 
token of remembrance. Then each year when she would decorate her tree, "I re-live 
those special times in my life that would have otherwise slipped away."

Needless to say the lady and her tree made a great impression upon a young 
impressionable teenager. I determined that whenever I had a tree of my own, I wanted 
it to be something special, too. When Glen and I were engaged, I shared with him the 
story of the Savannah woman and the story seemed to touch a chord with him as well. 
So that first year we celebrated Christmas together, in that tiny, cold apartment, we 
determined that the ornaments on our tree would be ones that we had specifically 
picked out for our tree, not just to fill the branches, but because of their beauty or 
meaning or special significance to us. Or they would be ornaments we had made, or 
someone else had given us, or like the lady in Savannah, they would be mementos of 
the events of our lives. We wouldn't even have actually had a tree that year if my sister 
hadn't brought us one -- we thought our apartment was just too small for a tree. 
It was and it wasn't. Our first Christmas tree only had nine ornaments on it (some of 
which we still have today). They were given to us by my mother and her friend.

Our tree today has hundreds and hundreds of ornaments. I started to catalog and count
them one day and stopped somewhere after 600. Along with the snowflakes (some of 
which belonged to my mother) and the balls (most of which I put on my trees growing 
up as a girl), there are "Savannah" ornaments: the doves and butterflies off our 
wedding cake; the golden bells off my parent's 50th anniversary cake; concert tickets; 
Metro tickets from Washington, DC; a baby's pacifier; my girls' little black patent 
leather baby shoes; a hickory nut I picked up at my brother's house one day when we 
spent the day with his family; candles from a 40th birthday cake; and from a 50th 
birthday cake; HighSchool Band Security Tags; Election buttons - both from elections 
won and lost; footprint buttons from babies born; favors from weddings; silk flowers 
from a baby shower; silk flowers from a wedding bouquet; dough ornaments older than
my marriage, given to me by a friend in college; I could go on and on. Like the lady in 
Savannah, when I decorate the tree, I have the joy of reliving memories, of 
remembering people and events. Our tree is an expression of our lives, a creation that 
continues to grow each year, because each year there is something new to add to the 

Thirty-three years ago, that lady in Savannah gave me a great gift. She shared with me 
a small moment of her time and herself and that small seed that life can be something 
that is worth re-living blossomed in me into something that has affected me and my 
family. We love our tree and the special ornaments and mementos that hang from its 
branches and we love the remembering what the tree brings to mind.

Today there is someone in each of our lives waiting for us to share with them some
great gift that the Lord has given us. Something that will be a seed that will blossom in 
them to something great and beautiful. Perhaps it is just a kind word, or a thoughtful 
look or an act of encouragement along the way. The world is full of hearts just waiting 
for those seeds.

Hear; for I will speak of excellent things;
and the opening of my lips shall be right things. 
Proverbs 8:6