Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Fog Settled

Romans 4:7-8
“Blessed are those
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”

September, the time of year when the temperatures are dithering between summer and fall. On a cool morning this week, the dip in temps resulted in a soft fog that settled over the village. As I drove to work I enjoyed the beauty of the low hanging cloud as it touched the trees still green with summer and covered the surrounding hills with a blanket of dew. 

The fog reminded me of the times I've asked God to pour his peace over my family, friends, or someone I don't even know. Or the times I've prayed for a person to feel God's arms around them and his love enveloping them. As I looked at scripture about how God covers people, I read Romans 4 and discovered this quote from the Psalm. God surrounds me with much more than his love and peace. He rains down his grace on me. He's forgiven me and continues to forgive. I am blessed to know my Savior has given me a fresh start and left my past behind. Praise God for grace! 

Friday, September 11, 2015

A Trip to Put-in-Bay

South Bass Island Lighthouse

I write about finding beauty in every day things. Some days are easier than others. Over Labor Day weekend Tim & I took a road trip to northern Ohio. We'd never been to South Bass Island. From Port Clinton, we hopped on the Miller Ferry and traveled across the choppy waters of Lake Erie. From there we took a golf cart and buzzed around the streets of Put-in-Bay and through some of the natural area. South Bass is a more lively island than Kelley's with more eateries and activities. My favorite part was seeing the lighthouse. I can add one more to my list. South Bass Lighthouse was first lit July 10, 1897. It's now owned by Ohio State University and is no longer a working light.  

Perry's Peace Memorial

I loved all the flags.
Sailboats are always beautiful.

Love this old beauty.

 I'd like to hear the stories the old Victorian homes on the island could tell. The widow's walk at the top probably had women pacing, waiting for their husbands to come home from their boats. I picture summertime on the wrap around porch with wicker furniture, ladies in long skirts and hats and children romping in the yard while lemonade is served. It's fun to dream.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Children's Book Review: Thankful by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Archie Preston

Bestselling author, Eileen Spinelli, exemplifies what it means to be thankful. Throughout her delightful rhyming book, the waitress, the fireman, the dancer, the poet and many other folks give thanks for what they do. Archie Preston's charming illustrations make this a perfect read aloud to young children and a great reminder to adults on how much we have to be grateful for.

As a children's librarian, I read many of Spinelli's books to young listeners. I do believe this is one of my favorites. The simple language, the people she chose as examples, and the beautiful rhythm make me want to read Thankful out loud over and over. Mr. Preston's illustrations match the story so well. I like how he flows one page into the next from the gardener to the fireman and how the ballerina reappears in scenes. His whimsical, colorful paintings will keep a child's attention and delight the adult reader. Even though this is a book for all seasons, I plan to take it to our family's Thanksgiving dinner and read it to all the children. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Do I Have to be Patient?

Psalm 37:7
Be still before the Lord
    and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
    when they carry out their wicked schemes.

The country band Alabama sang a song about being in a hurry to get things done. They talked about rushing and ended up realizing they didn't even know why they pushed from one thing to another without stopping. Some days I feel that way too. I make a list of things to get done and move from one to the other just trying to finish. I don't like living in a rush. When I'm in a hurry for something to happen, I miss the moments. The quiet times when I need to listen for God's voice. The nudges from the Holy Spirit. The reminders from Jesus.

The Psalm speaks to those who believe in God. "Wait patiently," even when other people succeed with their plans. As I've gotten older, I realize God has a plan and he works in his time. When I get ahead of him circumstances get stressful, but when I wait his purpose unfolds as it should. If you're a list maker, like me, add time to reflect and think on his word. Stop and pray. Let things go. God doesn't expect me to be perfect, he expects me to obey. Praise God for his plan!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Country Wedding

In a corner of the woods, cleared of trees, brush, and poison ivy; white chairs snugged around a young maple tree. Twine stretched from tree to tree with the bride and groom's names printed on black flags. The sister of the bride drew a sign for the entrance in whimsical lettering -- "Choose a seat not a side, we're all family once the knot is tied." The weather cooperated, hot but no rain.

The bride and her maids carried wildflowers and the groom and boys wore suspenders and bowties. The tiny flower girl learned to walk just in time for the special day. A magical wooded fairyland in place, the couple exchanged vows and were pronounced husband and wife.

The day my daughter married the man she loves overflowed with beauty. Both have survived trials and tribulation. Both have children. Both wore huge smiles. Not only did they tie the knot, the groom gave his life to Jesus that morning. As mom of the bride, I was thrilled. I ask that you pray with me as they move forward in life, that their marriage will be blessed with peace, love, trust, and a large amount of faith. Congratulations Maggie and Michael!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Stinky Weed

2 Timothy 1:8-10
So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (Letter written to Timothy from Apostle Paul)

As Tim and I walked the dogs near a meadow, I noticed pretty purple blooms. I grabbed my camera and clicked. As I focused the lens, I realized I was snapping pictures of ironweed. Yes -- a weed, not a flower. God creates beauty in unexpected places.

The Apostle Paul's life, before he met Jesus, was ugly. He killed Christians. But when he traveled on the road to Damascus and fell before God and declared Jesus as his Savior, he lost his ugliness. Through grace and forgiveness, love and faith God transformed Paul into a beautiful weed. No one expected Paul to have a change of heart. He'd been persecuting Christians for a long time. Yet God's love changed him. 

God's grace can change any sinful, stinky weed of a human into a beautiful bloom. While sin resembles the stinging nettle weed; crowding out good plants, irritating, burning, annoying, and harmful. Grace is more like chicory, the pretty blue weed that blooms along the roadside and brings joy. God can change any heart if the person is willing. Praise God for his grace and forgiveness.