Archive by Author

Window Wonders

26 May

From the Heart

Louise Gibson

 

 

 

My kitchen window overlooks my patio.
It affords me an excellent view.
I observe the antics of my animal friends
while cooking, perhaps a stew.

 

My window wonders this week
have become a bit disturbing.
What used to be a heartwarming scene
has become very disconcerting.

 

I have a most unusual guest
who really is quite rude.
He appears uninvited at meal time
and devours all the food.

 

Lord, I need your help-
I really don’t want to be mean.
But that cute raccoon is gaining weight,
while my cats are looking lean.

 

I said he is cute because
his habits are disarming-
He picks up his food with his “hands”-
I must confess he is charming!

 

I take out fresh water for my cats,
but our visitor is quite pristine!
You see, he “washes” his food in it-
He is the original “Mr. Clean”.

 

And Lord, you see the other problem, too, I know-
How he trashes up my patio?
I get so tired of using my broom,
I moved the garbage can to the utility room.

 

Lord, I have a question, please-
“Was this your plan from the start,
to put me “under pressure”
to tenderize my heart?”

 

 

 

Airing of the Quilts with Friends

25 May

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

That’s right, my favorite event of the year happened on May 13, 2017. I am not a quilter so it may seem odd that I love this event so much. I think it is because I have childhood memories of  heavy quilts made by one of my aunts. I think it was Erma. She could sew anything and always had scraps for quilting. To me, quilts convey love and warmth.

This year two of my friends came from Florida and one from South Carolina to share the day with me.  The weather was threatening rain all morning but only produced a few sprinkles. The breezes from the weather front whipped the quilts and sent their supports swaying.

 

There were some amazing quilts on display and several organizations were raffling off some beauties. One quilting group from Georgia spent a year working on the quilt they were raffling.  My favorite was, surprise, surprise a tea pot theme. I especially liked the color scheme.

 

 

The city government building  was open and housed a texture exhibit complete with someone spinning alpaca into threads and a demonstration of an old form of hook quilting. My friends received a short lesson from the helpful artisan.

 

 

The following day husband and I with Florida friends Pam and Diana headed to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for some shopping and nature.  Of course I made a stop at the Corning Revere store in the Red Roof mall. There are several of these outlets in the area, but the one in this particular mall has a clearance area in the bottom level and I have scored some great deals there.

As we drove up US 441 through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, I was saddened to see the damage to the forests during the November fires caused by arson.

 

 

 

In Gatlinburg we discovered our hotel was literally down the street from where the fires encroached on the city. This is an overview of the city.

 

We did a motor tour of the Roaring Fork nature trail which begins near the top arrow. Much of the forest had suffered fire damage but the park service had many of the trails reopened and parking areas were full with the cars of hikers.

Of course, sampling the restaurant fare was a top priority. Along with the usual favorites of  The Old Mill and The Apple Barn, we tried out Bubba Gump. They have a yummy dippin” sauce.

 

 

On one of our drives, we had a mixup on directions and took a scenic detour.  I wasn’t sure how we got turned around, then I saw this sign in Pigeon Forge.

 

 

I guess in the mountains, north can be south and south can be north!

On Monday, I received a telephone call congratulating me on winning a gift card to one of our local stores, North Carolina Mountain Made. I was thrilled and knew instantly what I would buy.

 

 

I have been wanting this CD for ages. This man’s soft guitar strumming and picking of hymns is very similar to my father’s playing. The sound of my dad “plunking” on his guitar is the soundtrack of my childhood. I love how God listens to our hearts and delights in giving us sweet gifts.

God, calm my storm

20 May

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

(May 19, 2017)

The experience was unique on my last trip home. The plane ride was bouncy and rough. I stretched out on the seat beside me in that 10-passenger small plane.

I must have dosed off because all of a sudden, I notice the engine slowing down, the plane seem to lose power. The engine turned way too quiet– a frightening kind of quiet. There was no one beside me to ask. A bit of worry knocked at the door. So I thought, “Lord, here I come, open those heaven gates.”

Suddenly, the plane stopped. Unable to see the surroundings, I had no idea we had landed. The change of the engine sound was because we were on the ground already.

Please make me feel good and tell me you did something silly like that, too. You assumed the worst when it was the best instead.

I don’t feel too bad, though. The disciples did something similarly as related in Matthew 8:23-26.

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, and “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

Father, forgive me when I lose my faith and doubt that you’re in my boat, present during my storms. Grant me wisdom and conviction to know I’m never alone, to be calm when the winds of disappointment, of heartache and fear blow fiercely around me. I will count on the safety of your presence in the storms of all sizes. In Jesus’ name, amen.

What storms are you facing today? Who’s in your boat.

Janet

 

Source: God, calm my storm. ~ Janet Perez Eckles

Write Your Own Positive Quote About Growing Older

19 May

From the Heart

Louise Gibson

 

 

 

The age I am is a welcome friend-

It is so patient, no rush to the end.

 

One day at a time is sufficient for me
to glean the promises of God eternally.

 

I want so much to continue to grow-
It is Christ, my Savior, I want to know.

 

Age is a gift from our Lord above.
Treasure the memories of His infinite love.

 

One rule I have made as I age.
“Don’t let your life be ruled by a calendar page”.

 

P.S. As long as God gives you life,
LIVE it!

 

 

 

What brings security for a mom?

13 May

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

 

 

God chose to bring me into this world on a cold spring morning in La Paz, Bolivia. My mom sat up on that old, unsteady bed in a worn-out clinic.

“The baby…the baby…it’s coming,” she shouted.

The woman looked up as she sat on a squeaky chair. She sipped her coffee. “Sorry, Señora. The midwife went home for lunch.”

With sweat beads on her forehead, my mom pressed her hand on her stomach. Tears fell and she anguished with no one to help her deliver me.

Finally, the woman put her cup down and went to the door. “Can anyone help?” she called out into the courtyard. “A baby is coming.”

The delivery started, and I was born lacking adequate medical care.

That first year, with me in her arms, she stood in long lines to get a loaf of bread and some wilted carrots. The recent revolution in La Paz had turned the economy upside down. Everything was scarce except for Mom’s love.

Years later, we followed the daily routine. I sat before her on a box we used as a stool. “Someday we’ll leave Bolivia,” she said as she braided my black hair.

That day came after four years of preparation to meet the U.S. Immigration requirements. We sold all we had. And Mother and Father worked night and day to earn enough money for airplane tickets.

And that airplane took us to a special place. As a young girl, Mom had read the Spanish translation of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” which took place on the shores of the Mississippi River. Her dream was to someday visit those places.

And that’s how St. Louis, Missouri, became the city where we began our new life.

But the adjustment to the unfamiliar territory in America wasn’t as beautiful as the stories in those books. My parents, my younger brother nor I read or spoke English. Unable to understand food can labels, we ate cat food, thinking it was tuna.

Sixth grade girls surrounded my desk, pointed at me, whispered to each other and giggled. My pierced ears in 1964 was an oddity causing astonishment.

But Mom set the example. Her job was hard on her emotions. She endured harsh treatment and humiliation. And her lack of fluency in English kept her there for many years.

She sat at the kitchen table, reading her Bible while tears flowed.

And through her strength, she nurtured us, protected us and taught us perseverance. All served to mold my childhood.

Decades swept by. And unexpectedly, I had to enter another unfamiliar territory. My blindness at 30 thrust me into a dark, terrifying world.

But like Mom, God’s Word gave me eyes to see beyond my blindness. With headphones on, I heard the Bible.

God’s strength fueled my days to do the tasks of cooking, cleaning and doing laundry while unable to see. When obstacles came, God promised me His grace would remove them and cover my mistakes.

I was born in a third-world clinic. But God ushered me into a first-class place where His riches are available. His blessings abound. And when my days as a Mom turn difficult, I ease into His arms to soothe my soul and bring security back.

To those dear moms, I hope you have the happiest Mother’s Day ever!

Janet

VIDEO OF THE WEEK SNEAK PEEK   https://youtu.be/O8lt7uWvSuw

Looking for a speaker for your upcoming event? A great speaker makes the difference between a so-so event and one that shines with impact. I invite you to view one of my two-minute videos HERE.

Source: What brings security for a mom? ~ Janet Perez Eckles

Reflections

12 May

From the Heart

Louise Gibson

 

 

What does a mother say to her children
at the end of her days-
Those she has loved in so many ways?

 

“Oh, what joy I felt in my heart
when I was informed that new life
had its start.

 

Each of you was a blessing from above-
a gift of God-
the symbol of love.

 

Each is unique-
Not one is the same.
You are loved and admired
for who you are; what you became.

 

Your talents are many-
Thank God for each one.
They will nurture your being
when the day is done.

 

God will supply the strength
to face each new day-
I will be with you in spirit
every step of the way.

I Love you.

Mom”

 

 

Footnote:

Quote from Max Lucado:

“God knows that we are only pilgrims and that eternity
is so close that any “Good-bye” is, in reality, a
“See you tomorrow”.

 

 

 

 

Life is a Whirlwind

11 May

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Since we arrived in the mountains, life has been a whirlwind. We took a weekend trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains to meet up with some cousins. This bunch of cousins are the children and grandchildren of a sister my mom was particularly close to and I adored. There seems to be a generational love. On Saturday we went to an old resort named Shatley Springs for supper. There were 16 of us. Family from Winston-Salem drove up to join us. It was a two hour drive for them. When it was planned, I didn’t know that we were reviving an old family tradition. It turns out that an aunt’s family and one of these cousins would drive to Winston- Salem and then all would go to the resort to eat. It was like slipping behind the veil of time for a brief moment.

Apparently the resort’s spring waters are famous for healing properties and they allow people to take it home in jugs for free.  I drank a lot of it with my meal!
Tuesday of this week our son underwent surgery. It had been scheduled for at least six weeks. To my surprise and delight we learned that one of our breakfast buddies would be having surgery the same day and at the same hospital. We couldn’t have planned this, only God could. We sat with his wife in the waiting room, entertaining each other as the hours passed. Both of our family member’s surgeries were successful and they are on the road to healing.  I love how God provides for us.
I am looking forward to a visit with friends from Florida. This weekend Franklin holds its annual Airing of the Quilts. I have my fingers crossed that the forecast of rain will be wrong. I think there is a 50/50 chance it will be!
This is from last year.

Quilts lined street.

Four ways to turn your life around.

6 May

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

    

I turned toward a new friend seated beside me during a writer’s conference. He’s got to be kidding! Did I hear him right? Did he say what I thought he said?

Those questions ricocheted in this crazy chica’s head when I heard him describe what he did on the side. I let out a quick gasp as he related, with a matter-of-fact tone, that he made jewelry out of, are you ready? …moose droppings!

I pinched my nose. “Tell me this is a joke,” I said.

“Nope.” (Friends, check the pictures above to prove it.)

Being from Alaska, he explained the process. And I tried really tried to understand this craft. My imagination went wild with not-so-pleasant images.

But, amigos got to spill it all. This brought to mind the yucky droppings of trials that had paraded through my days—blindness, my son’s death, the struggles of sorrow—all gave my life a bad smell of heartache.

But viola! God turned the trials to triumph as He saw beyond the pain, the sin, the ugly scenes and transformed it all to a shining jewel for His glory.

No, amigos, don’t you think for a minute I’m saying this chica is a jewel. But the triumph God ushered certainly is.

Your triumph is waiting for you too. In the horrible, ever-present battle you’re facing, He’s got his tools and is at work too. He is at work to clean, shine and make it glow.

And during the process, all you have to do is:

  1. Receive the joy for the moment. The joy that comes because you know He’s in control. The joy that resonates even when we don’t see the end result.
  2. Choose gratitude in expectation of what He will do.
  3. Look back at ways He transformed other smelly circumstances in the droppings of life.
  4. Spray the perfume of repentance on that smelly sin. When He’s done He will showcase His victory in you.

Life sometimes does stink. But no matter how unbearable the stench of sin or sorrow is, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Father, from a discarded soul, tainted with sin, smelling of pride, you polished life, beauty and sparkle through your son Jesus. Thank you that our life now has a glow of salvation, of freedom, of joy and hope. In His name we thank you. Amen

  • What painful situation stinks in your life now?
  • What will it take for you to allow Him to turn your trials to triumph?
  • What keeps you in the same rut?

Janet

Source: Four ways to turn your life around. ~ Janet Perez Eckles

The Red Light Will Change-Be Patient

5 May

From the Heart

Louise Gibson

 

 

We suffer when we are not in control.
It affects our very being.
“Lord, I really wanted a sunny day,
but fog is all I am seeing.”

 

We are prone to create our own little world.
The old “normal” has to fall apart.
“We can’t go forward, Lord.
unless we have a change of heart.”

 

Accept the present moment.
Be patient, the red light will change.
God uses those “waiting moments”-
Our circumstances He will arrange.

 

Religion is one of the safest places
to hide from God.
Ego wants to be in control.
Forget about rituals and man made rules.
Make communing with God your goal.

 

How comforting to know
God doesn’t love you because you are good.
God loves you because God is good.
That’s why I love Him so.

 

How to feel satisfied. 

29 Apr

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Stuff piles up when I’m heading out of town. And sigh! There are not enough hours in a day to prepare. Can you relate?

I zipped my suitcase and turned to hubby. “Ugh…didn’t have time for a pedicure. I guess I’ll take care of that when I get there.”

But I didn’t have to do that because the Chinese lady seated beside me on the airplane took care of that.

As is my habit to talk to anyone seated beside me, I began chatting with her. I asked her a ton of questions and often I had to ask her to repeat what she said because her lovely accent got a bit heavy at times.

Then it was her turn. “So, you totally blind?” No sight?” she said.

“That’s right.”

“Ah!” she said, then paused. “Why you so happy when you cannot see?”

But before I answered, she asked, “And where is your husband, in other seat?”

“No, I travel alone.”

“Ah!”

Her gasps of admiration made me smile. And with no hesitation, I shared my journey of the power of Christ in me.

Then my boldness died down a bit. And as we sat in silence for a long while. In my heart, I asked the Lord, “Should I present her an opportunity to invite Jesus into her own life?”

He didn’t give me an answer. Then I decided that if she said something to me first, that would be God’s sign for me to go ahead.

Silence. More silence. Then she tapped my arm, “Excuse me, I go to bathroom.”

That was my sign. When she came back, I asked, “Would you like to do what I did and invite Jesus into your heart?”

“Maybe,” she said.

I turned to face her. “Does that mean yes?”

“Yes,” she said.

The moments that followed played God’s sweet symphony of His plan in action—a life in a new direction. A heart that embraced the Good News. And a stranger who is now the daughter of the King.

Full joy, complete satisfaction, and delight burst in me. And my feet didn’t need a pedicure anymore because Paul said: “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” Romans 10:14-15

Father, bring into my life more opportunities to share the Good News, to guide others to a saving knowledge of who You are, and give me boldness to tell all of your goodness. In Jesus’ name, amen.

What path are your feet taking you on lately?

Janet

 

Source: How to feel satisfied. ~ Janet Perez Eckles

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