60 years and counting...celebrating legacy

Before you have to ask, no, I am not yet 60...   😁

November, 2017 began a year of celebration for our family.  My father-in-law began the festivities as he turned 80.  Much to his surprise, his family showed up in Florida - children, their spouses, all the grandchildren, their spouses, and great grandchildren including the youngest at just 2 weeks old.

As we gathered for dinner, Frank offered a prayer for the blessing and the legacy his dad has created as a father, a grandfather, a great grandfather, a husband, and a friend.

The year of birthdays continued in April as my dad achieved that 80th year birthday milestone as well.  His love for the sport of pole vaulting offered a perfect backdrop for the day filled with surprises.  Once again, children, grandchildren, great grandchildren along with extended family joined in the fun.  (Yes, my dad still pole vaults in Senior Olympics as he has for over 25 years now.)    He even offered an exhibition performance for all.  And, no, I didn't give it a try!

The year of milestones culminated in the celebration of my parents' 60th wedding anniversary in September, 2018.  My mom, who never enjoys being "fussed over" appreciated that we gathered at a small restaurant in Tennessee - just their three daughters and husbands.  We laughed about memories and listened intently as our parents shared their history together.  Traveling to Winchester, Tennessee, we visited the house my dad built, drove through downtown by the First Baptist Church, and listened a bit more to gain advice and wisdom.

Today, I am overwhelmed with a grateful heart realizing the legacy of love, faith, commitment, hard work and perseverance we've had a front row seat to witness.  To God be the Glory!

What are you thankful for today?

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
    Serve the Lord with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
    It is he who made us, and we are his;[a]
    we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations
Psalm 100

Sweet little memory - surrender

tilt shift lens photography of person lifting handAuthor's Note:  Many of you know that I've been 
writing since the year 2000.  
We've been doing some cleaning out lately and have come across many of the letters I wrote to the Women's Sunday School class I was honored to teach for 12 years.  Below I've copied one the letters I wrote in November, 2004.  Clay (now 21) was 7 at the time.  I'm thankful that the truth of God's word is timeless and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training... and I'm hopeful that my writing ability has improved just a little.  😁

November 2, 2004

"Hands up, you filthy animal, you better surrender!"  Clay likes to catch me off guard with those words.  That line is his own combination derived from the movie, Home Alone, and a couple of old Western movies or cartoons.  He does actually know the word "surrender" means, at least in this context.   Clay recently learned a hard lesson about his own surrender or submission to the authority of our garage door.  He often like to "challenge" the door as we are leaving to go somewhere by pressing the button at the back door and running/sliding under the door just in the nick of time.  I know that when a bike or a bat get in the way of the closing garage door, it stops and goes back up, don't you?  Frank, Mollie and Clay were headed to get a pizza.  "Mother" Mollie gently reminded Clay as he pushed the button that it wasn't a good ideas, and he now heartily agrees.  Half his body landed inside the garage, while the other half rested on the driveway.  In retrospect Frank said he looked like a turtle in distress, arms and legs flailing.  It took all Mollie's strength, with an extra push from Frank, to get the door back up.  Clay has some scrapes and bruises on his back, probably due more to the "flailing" than the actual door.  He was a little shook up, and later told Frank he just wasn't ready to go to Heaven yet.  So, he's now a little more respectful of the garage door.

Sometimes I really wish we could learn some lessons without the hard knocks and bruises that often come with our "hard" heads.  As we studied the second chapter of the book of Esther on Sunday, I couldn't help but think of her obedient surrender.  Surrender to the authority of the King's decree, surrender to the authority of her surrogate parent, Mordecai, and surrender to the wise counsel of Hegai, the King's eunuch.  We aren't told exactly how willingly she surrendered, but given the tone of the book regarding her, I believe it must have been with a genuine strength of character and grace.

Our society often equates surrender with losing, or giving in to a stronger opponent.  Some you know I am again working through Rick Warren's book, The Purpose Driven Life.  If you have a copy, join me in the 10th chapter.  Warren says, "surrendering to God is the heart of worship."  He offer three barriers that he believes block our total surrender to God. 

#1  our lack of trust in God
#2  our pride, adding here that our desire, to have complete control, is the cause of so much stress in our lives,
#3  we don't really know what surrender means.  

"Instead of trying harder, you trust more," Warren writes, "Genuine surrender says, 'Father, if this problem, pain, sickness, or circumstance is needed to fulfill your purpose and glory in my life or in another's, please don't take it away.  In Jesus' case, He agonized so much over God's plan that He sweat drops of blood.  Surrender is hard work.'"

When questioned about why he felt God had used and blessed his life, Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, said, "When I was a young man, I made a contract with God.  I literally wrote it out and signed my name at the bottom.  It said, "From this day forward, I am a slave of Jesus."
I guarantee that Clay will not again challenge our garage door.  I know that Esther's decision of surrender was a part of God's plan to save the jewish people from destruction.  

Can't help but wonder a little, what part of God's plan involves and uses my surrender?

So when the king's order and his edict were proclaimed, and when many young women were gathered in Susa the citadel in custody of Hegai, Esther also was taken into the king's palace and put in custody of Hegai, who had charge of the women.  And the young woman pleased him and won his favor. And he quickly provided her with her cosmetics and her portion of food, and with seven chosen young women from the king's palace, and advanced her and her young women to the best place in the harem.  Esther 2:8-9

so very busy

I've missed you, friends!  Many of you know how much I love to write, how much I love to share what I am learning from God's word, from others, and from circumstances... its is joy for me!

This fall has been F.U.L.L!  What about you?  Can you really believe we've just turned the calendar page to November - you realize November is the 11th month of the year... the one right before December... the F.U.L.L.N.E.S.S. of the coming season is here.

One of my goals this year has been to cut out the word "busy" from my vocabulary.  Have you noticed what happens when we begin a conversation with the word, busy?  Here's how it might unfold...

We run into a friend at the Mall..
Oh my goodness, it's so good to see you.  
and it's great to see you, too.  I've been meaning to check in with you, but I've been so busy.  Let's get together for coffee... soon.
Then you think, but, for sure don't say aloud...
I understand, friend.  Even now, you have a mission to accomplish.  Coffee probably won't happen.


Your phone rings... and your screen reveals your friend calling - love that sweet friend, but you remember she called two weeks ago and asked that you return her call... no hurry, just whenever you have time.  Truth is... you've been so busy, you haven't had a chance to call. 
Better let that call head on to voice mail.  Maybe you'll call her on the way home.

And, there's one other thing about the response of "I've been so busy..."  Instantly your, well - my responsibility is absolved.  It's okay, we respond, when we are the recipient of the busier friend... no big deal.  And here's why we respond with, it's okay.... because we are also "so busy".

So... let's make a deal  😏

 As we look ahead to the next 8 weeks - a time of thanksgiving and gratitude and a time of celebration of the birth of our Savior, will you join me in avoiding just "busy" and agreeing to those things, those activities, those traditions that are determined from a posture of intentionality.

If your best intentionality comes through a list, start making it tonight.  Maybe you make this list, then take some time to pray through each item/event on the list... then even begin crossing off a few unnecessary things.

So this evening... I'm looking so very forward to having lunch with a couple of sweet ladies that we've talked about/thought about and have been too busy to gather for months.  

I'll see you at noon tomorrow,  friends!  Looking forward to seeing you!