Faith, family, Uncategorized

An Open Letter to my Children

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As parents, one of the assumed goals, or perhaps an expected conclusion to one’s earthly lifespan, is to have an estate of earthly wealth to leave to your heirs, an inheritance consisting of the culmination of the parents’ material possessions, monetary wealth, and other items of value or heritage. What a grand finale to one’s life, a testimony to the hard work and perseverance of the parent, and a testament for the child of the parents’ thought and care in putting this gift aside for them.

 

It’s an ideal and worthy goal, though not all parents have the means to provide such a generous inheritance.

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As for my own children, I have some bad news and some good news….

Though I wouldn’t say we have lived a life of poverty by any means, neither have we consistently had the easy road to financial success. Had we used more wisdom in planning for the future, perhaps things would be different now. As they say, it is what it is!

 

So, I’m sorry my dear ones, I cannot offer you or even promise you any earthly inheritance of wealth, prestige, or fame. I cannot give you that which I do not have. To my knowledge, there are no well-to-do ancestors in our family history, and if there are, I doubt their money trail will ever lead to our door. As far as material possessions, well, you know how much I love thrift stores! Most of what is in our home is 2nd hand, well used, and aside from a few pieces of vintage cabinetry, offers very little in monetary value. However, if you hold dear to sentiment as I do, you will find many priceless treasures.

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But if it is wealth, prestige and power that you long for, there is another path which holds more promise and satisfaction. It is the one carved out by you alone.

 

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It is the one which bears the manifestations from your own efforts, your own hard work and determination. You will decide what it looks like, and you will determine where it will lead. Your name will be printed on the road sign and the story it tells will be your very own.

 

As you go along, you may occasionally look behind you to see how far you’ve come. It will be a familiar sight, marked with evidence of your hard work and victories, your struggles and regrets, your sacrifices, and, no doubt, your rewards, also.

 

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Undoubtedly, you will notice some bumps in the road. Those were likely the life issues that threatened your journey with distraction or circumstance. You held on and with your eyes fixed forward, you navigated over and around them.

 

You also see the smoother areas of the path. Aww, those were good times… happy times! Life was good and you found joy in the little things. You held your head high and didn’t even have to look down to watch the road. With momentum going strong and steady, you breezed along easily.

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But you also notice, there are some pretty deep potholes.  In fact, you fell into some of those, got a few bruises and still bear some scars, too. They bring some painful memories to mind, and it hurts to think about them. But here’s the thing about those deeper holes. There’s a good ledge there on which to get a good foothold and lift yourself up and out. You found new strength that you didn’t have before, brushed yourself off, and once again, started moving forward. There you go, you got this!

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You didn’t know life would be so hard sometimes, but you also didn’t know how strong you could be. Cutting in those new paths takes strength, focus, and endurance.

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You’re just starting out now, and don’t know yet just where your path will lead. But wherever your destination may be, be sure to enjoy the journey along the way, for before you know it, the time will pass and you will wonder where it all went.

 

Though I hope for you a life filled with successes and financial ease, there is something I want you to remember:  Success isn’t always measured by a person’s level of education or their career accomplishments, and the value of material possessions and financial security isn’t always defined by a dollar amount or the balance in one’s bank account. Rather, true wealth is made up of the people who surround you, the relationships you have cultivated, your service to others, and the love and compassion which permeates throughout your life. And true riches is not measured in dollars, but instead is made up of the heavenly treasure which you have stored in your eternal bank account.

 

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6: 19-21

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One more thing…. this journey should not be taken alone. For though you do not know what is ahead, there is One who does. Allow Him to guide and help navigate your way. When those difficult times come in your journey, turn to your Savior Jesus Christ, who knows the end of your story and who will walk along side of you every step of the way if you ask Him to.

 

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13

 

This is for you, my most prized treasure:

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With love,  Mom

 

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Faith, Uncategorized

Adorned In His Righteousness

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.  Isaiah 61:10

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Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  1 Peter 3:3-4  (I am not trying to say here that we should not fix our hair, or dress nicely, etc. But I see this scripture saying that our true beauty as human beings is more than what those things may define it as, with the second part of the passage describing from where our beauty should be rooted.)

 

I was attending preschool in the small city where we lived. It was nearly summer, and my class went on a special outing to the city swimming pool.

 

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The city park had a separate, very nice kiddie pool. The large, round pool was a small child’s delight, where one could play and splash with abandon. Evenly spaced around the perimeter of the circular-shaped pool, were small fountains which sprayed water up and into the pool.
Some memories are embedded in our minds because they are marked by strong emotions, so although I was quite young, I have never forgotten this particular day.

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That day, my Mother dressed me in a red, one-piece, very plain swimsuit. I remember clearly like it was yesterday, feeling so terrible in it. Even at preschool age, I apparently had some awareness of fashion, or perhaps it was an early introduction to peer pressure, comparing my attire to that of the other girls. Either way, to that small, shy girl, it was not a good day.

 

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I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and I sat along the shallow edge of the pool that day hanging my head and crying. I didn’t want to play.
I can still see myself sitting there. I would liken it to going to the prom dressed in a plain, hand-me-down, dull, lifeless dress, while all the other girls wore beautiful, sparkly gowns. You would want to find a corner to shrink into.

 

 

That’s what I felt that day. I’m not blaming my Mom. She was a busy mother with limited resources, and I’m sure she dressed me in something we already had, and probably thought it decent and adequate. I can only speculate that my teacher must have spoken to my mother about what took place that day.

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What I can tell you is that my wise Mother put her seamstress skills to work that evening, hand-crafting a new swimsuit for me. The next day, when my preschool class went to the pool, I donned a cute, two-pieced, brightly colored swimsuit!

 

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My countenance changed, and I played and splashed, laughed and dipped along with all the other children! (This too, I remember like it was yesterday.) I was a different child. I didn’t feel like a shy girl that day!

 

 

 

What I wore that second day changed my countenance! It changed how I felt inside.
And what I felt inside, showed on the outside.

 

Oh, you know there is a life-lesson in this story, right!?

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In a secular sense, we change our outward appearance in order to change how we feel on the inside.

 

But God works differently. He begins on the inside of our being, and the inner changes manifest in our outward reflection.

 

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When we no longer keep God confined to the sidelines of our lives, but invite Him to dwell within us, becoming vulnerable and moldable, surrendering our will to His, we are changed from the inside, out.

 

When we allow God to change us on the inside, His righteousness and His goodness begins to manifest in our thoughts, words, and deeds, and we begin to reflect the characteristics of Christ.

 

 

Although His love and abiding presence brings humility to our nature, we don’t hang our heads in shame. No!
Our spirits soar, and dance, and play with delight in Him!
We no longer wear that dull, lifeless old swimsuit. We have a new suit! It is new, and colorful, and it was fashioned by our Father’s own hands!

 

 

Shake off the shame of that old suit, and raise your hands in freedom and joy and dance in your new suit!

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Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.   Colossians 3:12-14

Home Life, Living Life, Uncategorized

June Bugs!

June Bugs. 

At least that’s what we have always called them. The proper name is- Ten lined June Beetle. 

Let me describe this little creature, in case you don’t already know about it. My most sincere apologies to anyone with a bug phobia! I can hear my sisters now saying ‘Ewww!’, and now laughing. 

When I was growing up, this dreaded little bug struck fear into the very depths of my being! 
I was an outdoorsy farm-girl. I loved frogs-and still do-I played with worms, ladybugs and rolly pollys (sow bugs).

I baited my own fishing lines for goodness sakes!

So what is it about these tiny crawly-critters that I hate so much?

First of all, they are not tiny. They are 1- 1 1/2 inches in length and up to 3/4 inch wide, off-white in color with greenish-brown stripes on their hard outer shell. They have large, fuzzy antennae. 

But the worse feature is their long ‘sticky’ legs. By sticky, I mean they stick to things- like screen doors in the summer evenings…and skin…and hair! Makes me cringe just thinking about it.
They come out in the heat of the summer, usually in the later part of the day, and are attracted to the light. So just about every evening, we would find at least one or two of them clinging to the screen door. We could examine and poke at them from the ‘safety’ of the indoors, but wouldn’t dare go out there and risk having them land on us.


Many years ago, after I got married, all the family gathered at my Mother’s house in the summer for a hot dog/marshmallow roast. It was dark outside and we had a big, roaring fire going. It was great fun. But all of a sudden, we were invaded!




June bugs love light and heat, and they began flying all around- oh yes! they fly, too!- and we all started ducking and flailing around, putting whatever we had over our heads, because you do not want one of them landing in your hair, and we dashed for the house! A few of the critters hitched a ride inside with us. Oh my! What an exciting time, right?! Oh, I can laugh about it now!

I forgot to tell you one more thing about June bugs. They hiss! Loudly!

One particular summer evening, two of my sisters and I were rehearsing some songs, using microphone equipment. It was hot and stuffy in the room, so we had opened the door.

All at once, we heard a sound…a hissing sound. We looked around, and there it was.


Sitting on Debbie’s shoulder was a huge June bug, the microphone amplifying it’s already loud hissing! I don’t recall Debbie’s reaction, but I’m certain that if it had been me, there would have been some screeching, and jumping, and carrying on.

I know the unique June bug has a purpose in the balance of nature, although I could do without them!

 
More information and pictures in case you want to know more:

inaturalist.org

(photos- public domain)