On Eagle's Wings

On Eagle's Wings
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:29-31


Friday, September 30, 2016

Happy Birthday Brady!

The shoes pictured above are what he wanted for his birthday. His Mom and I worked fast and furiously online trying to get them. Apparently, these are highly desired among the kiddos and the queue was long and the computer kept doing that spinning around thing. But finally, they were ordered (thanks to Mom finding another website) and the shoes arrived just in the nick of time.

There are many pros and cons about our technology, but one of the really nice things is that we can see and talk with someone separated by distance. This morning first thing, we received a Facetime call so we would be able to see Brady open his gift and card.

What can we say about a boy like Brady who's so handsome, funny, kind and smart? 

Happy birthday!
You've reached a milestone and accomplished a lot at the age of 10. Your future is bright! 

The other nice thing about this technology is that you can snap pics as you are talking with them face time. Isn't that amazing? (The little squares in the top right are Papa and Nonnie watching him open his gift.)

Now here is something I especially like and it brought back memories of another birthday for Brady. New shoes for Big Brother means hand-me-down shoes to Little Brother, Noah. Noah is so excited as Brady opens his new shoes that he has already bent down to take the "gently used" shoes off  his brother. I love it that he has such a happy spirit of receiving his brother's shoes. 

Sweet Noah!

A few years ago, we had gotten Brady a pair of cowboy boots for his birthday. As he opened them and it became obvious what the box contained, it wasn't Brady who was excited. But rather, it was Noah. Over and over, he said with excitement, "Brady got boots! Brady got boots! Brady got boots!" I have saved that video because he was overjoyed that his brother had gotten a pair of boots (which, of course, he eventually inherited!) That memory and the smiles today always put a happy face on me!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Blue Monday

On a Blue Monday, the message below was in my inbox this morning from Devotionals Daily and much needed and taken to heart.

"There is a rhythm the oceans follow. The waves swell and recede; the tide goes in and out. It affects fishing, sea life, climate, and beachgoers alike. It seems silly to fight against the tide because it’s going to continue going in and out even if you try to resist. The best thing you can do is adjust to its coming and going. The tide has a rhythm, and so does your life. There will be seasons of sorrow and loss, times when the tears won’t stop. There will be times when you are filled with joy and hope. You see countless blessings in your life, and they make your heart sing. You may have seasons where you feel alone. You ache for companionship, for someone who understands you. Cry out to God — He hears and He helps. 

Just as the trees change in the fall and the sun shines brightly in the summer, you will not stay in the same season forever. If you’re in a barren and desolate winter, take heart because spring is coming. If you feel the warm rays of sun in a season of summer, enjoy it. Don’t look in dismay at the coming seasons. Bask in the sunlight, and give thanks. There are seasons of busyness, and then a reprieve comes. 

Don’t be anxious when you feel the seasons changing; they come and they go just as the tide rises and falls. And the One who holds the oceans in His hand and set each star in its place will most certainly be with you through every single season. Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. — Harriet Beecher Stowe * * * Excerpted with permission Life Is Better at the Beach copyright Thomas Nelson. 

Nehemiah 8:10 says, “… the joy of the Lord is your strength”. Joy is also a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22). Job 8:21 says, “[God] will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” And, we receive the promise of Psalm 30:11, “You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.” God’s Word says a lot about joy because that is how He created us to live — in a joyful relationship with Him!"

Daytona Beach 2014

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Foto Friends with Beth Moore and Old Friends

A few weeks ago, an old friend called me to ask if I would like to attend an Evening with Beth Moore at Prestonwood Baptist. Are you kidding me? Of course I said YES! I have done many of her studies and wanted an opportunity to hear her live. There are many great teachers out there and I think she is one of the best and most passionate teachers around.

Janelle and me

Janelle and I go way back together, but haven't seen each other a lot in the past few years, so it was good having a chance to catch up. She is an amazing person whom I admire greatly because she truly cares about people and has learned one of the most valuable gifts a person could ever have. Give. Be generous. When life knocks you down (and it has knocked her and her husband down many times), do something for someone else. Get out there and help. Volunteer. Be a servant. And that's who she is and how she got where she is now.

This morning Janelle is up in an air balloon taking pics of the grounds for the Plano Balloon Festival. 

AlleeOops Photography

But I have digressed from An Evening with Beth Moore. Prestonwood Baptist Church was packed out to the max with women and a few men here and there.

As Janelle and I sat waiting for the program to begin, I saw several people I know, but my shock was really great when coming right up beside us was a friend whom I had not seen since I left Tulsa in 1970! My goodness!! What would be the odds on that? Isn't it a small world, after all? I have seen her on Facebook so that I was ale to recognize her and found out she moved here two weeks ago and lives about ten miles down the road from me. Her family lived on our street in the 60's. Wow! It was great to see her.

Now there were thousands of ladies there - I don't know the capacity of Prestonwood Baptist Church, but I do know that with all those ladies in there lined up and eagerly waiting for the doors to open, a woman wearing the exact same top I was wearing was in line RIGHT BEHIND ME! My, my. What are the odds of that? I've not seen anyone ever wearing that top before (and it isn't one of my favorites either).

So, the praise and worship was wonderful. The Women's Ministry at the church had prepared a bag of goodies for every lady, which included Beth Moore Scripture Memory cards and a CD of praise and worship. Very nice and good songs there. Beth Moore's teaching was great and I believe her message was very timely for me. Life's complicated, but one day He will explain everything. Guard what has been entrusted with you. Jesus has to be the center of everything! He is! He has called me to do something only I can do, so minister wherever you are - at work, home, your neighborhood. Remove distractions from your life to have time alone with Him.

Happy Friday and Happy Fall, Y'all! 

Maybe next week we will have some cooler weather. And maybe some rain!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Arboretum Monday

We knew when we planned our trip that the forecast was for 97 degrees, so I am not sure what motivated us to load up the van and go for our Fall trip to the Arboretum. Oh, but wait, what is a little heat in light of our long time friendship, tradition, anxious for Fall to be here and pumpkins everywhere?! Yes, we could tough it for a girls' day out!

It was a good day in spite of the heat. Liz brought along a new friend, Jessica, who fit right in immediately.

Just after we stepped inside the arboretum and stood trying to decide which direction to take, we heard screams and ran over to see what was causing the commotion. A little boy about two years old had stepped into a bed of fire ants. These creatures move quickly and they were all inside his socks, going up his legs and feasting on that sweet boy. I ran for help and Victoria pulled out her trusty bag of oils to offer Lavender to the Mom for the bites. The little boy didn't want anything on him, but the Lavender did work to soothe. That is nice information to store away and hopefully, not ever have to use.

Liz and her sweet friend, Jessica

Traditional pic in front of "that tree."

(I should gather up all our pictures from the past few years just to see the changes that have occurred in each of us!)

This sweet girl belonged to the kind lady who took our pic.
She was a doll.

Another favorite tree

Orange everywhere.

We had lunch at the DeGolyer House which is always pleasant. Today, at the table across from us, the wait staff were helping this young lady announce to her husband that they were going to have a baby. So sweet and the young man and woman were happily hugging each other, crying tears of joy. It was a sweet moment, so rather than go over and bluntly ask to take a pic, I snuck this in from across the way.

A harpist provided the background music.
Beautiful music, beautiful harp,
beautiful young lady.

The Three Amigos in Cinderella's carriage.

A better look at the carriage.

Pumpkins everywhere.
I would be interested in knowing how many pumpkins
are spread out over the Arboretum.
The sign out front proclaims them "gourdgeous!"

We will be going back in a couple of weeks or whenever it cools down, whichever comes first! Today was HOT, HOT, HOT!! 97 degrees in Dallas. It's hot out there.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Freedom Anniversary!

Today is a meaningful anniversary for me. On this date in 1994, I was set free and began to understand God's grace for the first time. 

My background was strict and legalistic, but had known that Jesus was my Savior since I was eight years old. As I grew up, I loved the Lord, but when I passed that age of 18, I wanted to be free from all the rules and began to run with others who were also running away from rules. 

One of the habits I picked up was cigarettes. I didn't realize the addiction and the pull on me would be so strong. Not only was there an addiction problem, but there was a shame problem deep within me because of the background from which I came. Smoking was strictly forbidden, as was alcohol and a number of other things. 

After 25 years of being hooked, and longing to be free, my husband and I tried every method including, but not limited to, hypnotism, shots, patches, cold turkey, you name it, we tried it. Each time we tried to quit, we became desperate and the quarrels we had ... Let's just say they were ugly. I couldn't concentrate at work for the longing in me for that nicotine. (I am ever so thankful that I had not reached out to alcohol or drugs.)

I wept as I drove to and from work longing for God to set me free, crying out because I was so weak in this addiction and couldn't resist the pull of it. 

One Saturday, my DH had gone to work and I had the house to myself. As I did housework, I listened to the radio and Saturday morning kids shows. As those sweet voices sang Jesus Loves Me, it brought tears to my eyes remembering my childhood love for Jesus and the innocence of those times. After I finished my work, I went over to the Christian book store to find a book. My eyes latched on to Kay Arthur's books, "Lord, I Need ..." and one in particular: "Lord, I Need the Grace to Make It"! 

I bought it and took it home and immediately began to read and do the homework and research as God began to reveal His grace to me through His Word. 

That evening I went to church alone. As the service drew to a close, our pastor said, "there is someone here who is battling an addiction they've tried to break. They've tried every possible means to break it without success." He asked that person to come forward to be prayed for and, as I stood there thinking he was speaking to me directly, it crossed my mind that here was the opportunity I had been waiting for. If I didn't do it now, it would never happen. So, with head up, I went straight to the front of the church and, I might add, I was not alone. There were others coming forward with me to be set free. As the pastor readied to pray with me, he asked what it was I needed. I told him, and, as he began to pray, I stopped him to say, "and along with quitting, I need joy and peace!"

Well, he placed his hands on my head and prayed. I went home that night, threw that pack of Marlboro in the trash, and never pulled it out again. (That had been my habit in the past. Throw away, dunk in water, dry them out in the oven or go buy more.)

Not this time, baby! I went to bed, woke up the next morning and every morning thereafter with absolutely no desire for a cigarette and with the sweetest joy and peace so that my husband never even noticed until I told him. 

I praise God every day for the freedom of His grace, love, mercy and healing! Because on that day, not only was I free from my addiction, but I began a journey of freedom in Christ that I had never known before.

I remember a song we sang as kids:

O stop! And let me tell you
What the good Lord's done for me.
O stop! And let me tell you
What the good Lord's done for me.
For He has healed my body, and 
He saved my soul. 
He baptized me and He made me whole. 
O stop! And let me tell you
What the good Lord's done for me.

God's been good to me!

P.S. Not long after, my DH had the same experience. We have both been smoke free for all these years!!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday Foto Friends and Catch Up

Last Saturday was the first game of the season for both Kate and Jack. A thunderstorm woke us up around 4 a.m. and it was such a storm, it didn't look like there would be any soccer that day. But, as it turned out, it turned out to be a nice Saturday and the skies were beautiful. 

Kate did well for her first soccer game

The soccer field was great for spectators because there were shade trees to sit under. This is my view  looking upward from my front row seat.

Sharing goodies from the snack bag

Not so with the field where Jack's team played, however, the sun felt good and the game didn't last too long.

Jack and teammates coming out from
the "good game arch."

In the van headed to Braum's for ice cream.

One of the ladies from my table at Ladies of Grace surprised me with this pretty fall bouquet of flowers. I should have taken a pic of it wrapped up in orange and yellow tissue with the yellow bow. So sweet of her.

Bible Study Fellowship began on Wednesday and we are studying the Book of John this year. I was so looking forward to the first session and meeting the ladies in our group, however, about a week ago, I received the email asking me if I would volunteer with the kiddos. Well now, could I say no? No, I could not. And it was great being with the babies. There were 12, which, don't you think,is a meaningful number in light of the fact that we are studying Jesus, who had 12 followers?

Our back yard is still green and roses are blooming and the crape myrtles, too.

Neil Sperry, the gardening expert for Texas, posted the above picture of a crape myrtle in McKinney, Texas. This tree is blooming beautifully in spite of the fact that the property where it is located has been abandoned for 35 years and so the ground has not been fertilized or watered (except for rain) in all those years. This was to show why crape myrtles are so popular here in Texas. They are hardy and beautiful. When friends of ours moved here from Illinois a few years ago, we were all horrified when he wanted to cut down the crape myrtles in their yard because of the flowers!! Crazy!

That's about it for this week. This evening is our first concert of the season and we will have dinner with friends, Bill and Carol, before the concert. This might be a good place for me to mention that Bill has written a book which has been published. Below is a photo of the cover. Bill is a super intelligent, way over my head kind of guy, but he assures me he has made his thoughts and knowledge about this easy to understand. 

This is a photo of the pdf he sent. You can't read the small print on the cover here, but below is a portion of what it says on the cover.

"A basic foundation of Astronomy is provided followed by 17 chapters describing amazing Biblical Scriptures, written over 2,000 years ago. You will then be in awe by many Hubble pictures that directly represent those Biblical scriptures! The author provides unfathomable visual and audio dimensions that directly relate to each scripture to accelerate your belief in God's works and grow in His word. ... The book is filled with numerous examples of God’s magnificence, as written in the scripture Psalm 19:1-2: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” 

I'm looking forward to reading it! 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Remembering 911 and Heroes on Blue Monday

Like everyone else, I remember that day. I will not forget it. The events of that day are etched in my mind. The horrors of it all were so unreal as my co-workers and I watched the TV while trying to work, as did thousands across our nation.

Hearing about the firefighters especially caused me to tremble because my stepson had just finished rookie school and would in the next few days be officially entering the line of duty. Although we are far away from New York, it was scary to think that such an attack could happen anywhere and moreover, to think about the fact that the firefighters, police offices and others who entered those buildings were husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers of people like us.

It was impossible for me to concentrate on my work as I thought about my stepson and wondered, what if? What if the day were to come when he would enter a building and never return? What if? Would he be ready? He was a good boy and is a good man of integrity and honor. But did he know Jesus? That was weighing on my heart.

My heart was so heavy thinking about it that I picked up the phone and called him. I had to ask the question. And it gave him something to think about because he had been glued to the TV all that morning and I could only imagine the emotions that he was experiencing as he watched those brave firefighters in New York enter those buildings.

We invited him to come to church with us the following Saturday evening. At the close of the service, our pastor gave the invitation as always and, after the last song was sung, we raised our bowed heads and noticed our son was no longer sitting there. We looked everywhere for him thinking he had gone out to the car to wait for us. But no, he was nowhere to be found ...  my DH asked me, "do you think? ... Could he be?" Yes, he had gone back to the prayer room to pray with one of the prayer team and give his heart to the Lord. What a joyous day! What a wonderful relief!

After 911, our churches were filled with people trying to find answers, coming back to God. There were special prayer meetings, and it was so encouraging to see people coming together in unity, looking to God for answers and finding hope. Sad to say, as the years passed, the fervor died down and people fell back into the comfortable ways, forgetting what had driven them to their knees. But not everybody. Trying to keep this brief, my point is that many did not forget. And we must always remember that no matter how tragic the events, how hard to understand, how nothing so evil makes sense, we have a great God who works all things together for His purposes. God did not cause those events, but through them He could use them to awaken our nation and bring lost people back to Him. I praise Him that in our lives He was glorified in those events by our turning to Him, rather than turning our backs on Him and blaming Him. Our church continues to honor the people who gave their lives on that day and in all the other sacrifices made by our military, and those in authority, such as police officers, firefighters, first responders, all who put their lives on the line to protect us and come to our aid.

Replica of the Viet Nam Memorial
Boots memorial to those from Texas who
died in the Middle Eastern wars
Dog tags of those honored

Linking up today with Jeanne at Backyard Neighbor for Blue Monday and hoping someone will be encouraged by the above.

Our skies this weekend were magical blue. So beautiful to be outdoors watching the kids play soccer and enjoying a beautiful September day.