Tag Archives: Christian bloggers

Beauty from Ashes. A Mountain Sunset

23 Jul

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

The smoke haze from the western wild fires created a stunning sunset here in our mountain town, nestled near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A local weather watcher captured it on video and added music. If you have attempted to capture the beauty of a mountain sunset, you know it can be challenging.

In 2016 our region was struck with devastating wildfires. We are familiar with such trauma but find solace that out of tragedy beauty can yet be found.

Letters from Mother-8

19 Jul

Dora Bedell Bowers

My Take

DiVoran Lites

July 25, 1983 

Marrowstone Island, WA

Lowell’s birthday. He’s 64

I’m enjoying sitting indoors with the heat on and wearing sweaters. Things got a little hot the other day. Dad was welding out by Smithy’s trailer and his red polyester flannel shirttail caught fire. He put his hand down on the flame and the material stuck to his left hand and caused 3rd degree burns on his palm. It has healed quickly. He soaked it in ice water to stop the burning and applied aloe-vera plant and some aloe-vera salve. He has been welding since you were small-he says 47 years. No! No! It’s since Dave was born-he learned on the GI bill after the war. No that was flying it was before the war in Crowley, but not 47 years. How’s that for digressing? 

We walked Saturday and saw a small flock of woodpeckers in the woods where Amy lives. They were 10-12 inches long with a bright top knot the color of a red reflector in the light. I wish I had my bird book here. Then we saw a wild canary and it sang like a canary. We also saw a ferret or brown mink, and a doe with a fawn about three weeks old following her. 

Photo credit Pixabay
Photo credit by Pixabay

Mary Ann and Shirley sang ” Happiness” yesterday, then we all sang “Heaven Came Down” together. I loved it. The ladies’ group is such a sweet time for all of us on this small island. Fran told Ivan I had a good singing voice. (He’d never believe it, but that’s all right, he’s tone-deaf, anyway, so how would he know?)

Sister Judy may come August 5. Sister-in-law, Waunita has gone to Canby Oregon to see her grandsons play baseball. She’ll be back tomorrow. Brother Smithy is eating with us while she’s gone. Please send complete instructions for tortilla chicken soup.

 Much Love,

Mom and Dad. 

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

How Long Before the Heartache Stops

17 Jul

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Reblogged July 17, 2021

July 16, 2021

If you peek through my window, you’ll find me dancing. I’m celebrating because a few weeks ago, after a year of Zoom presentations, I delivered my first in-person message.

After I finished, I put the mic down on the podium and stepped off. As I made my way to the book table, a sweet woman hugged me tight. “Thirty years,” she whispered in my ear “it’s been that long that I drew away from God. After my son was killed, I wanted nothing to do with God or the Bible. I was away for 30 years. I decided to come back.”

For most, 30 years seems way too long to carry sorrow. But heartache has no expiration date. Sometimes, it weighs heavy for a lifetime. Unless we take a bold step and do what this champion in discus throwing did.

An excerpt from The Sacred Romance.

…I read the story of a Scottish discus thrower from the nineteenth century. He lived in the days before professional trainers and developed his skills alone, in the highlands of his native village. He even made his own iron discus from the description he read in a book. What he did not know was that the discus used in competition was made of wood with an outer rim of iron. His was solid metal and weighed three or four times as much as those being used by his would-be challengers. This committed Scotsman marked out in his field the distance of the current record throw and trained day and night to be able to match it. For nearly a year, he labored under the self-imposed burden of the extra weight. But he became very, very good. He reached the point at which he could throw his iron discus the record distance, maybe farther. He was ready.

My Scotsman (I had begun to closely identify with him) traveled south to England for his first competition. When he arrived at the games, he was handed the official wooden discus—which he promptly threw like a tea saucer. He set a new record, a distance so far beyond those of his competitors that no one could touch him. He thus remained the uncontested champion for many years.

Hanging onto heartache and wondering if joy will ever come back.

As you read this, someone also has in their life’s a discus called heartache. And what do they do? Goodness gracious, they hold on to it. Days are dark and hard as their feet drag. Exhaustion tells them the weight is too heavy. Perhaps it’s because deep, really deep inside, like me, they doubt God could ease such intense pain. We wonder if He will indeed lift our sorrow. And in our limited, human mind we can’t imagine how, in the gloom of pain, could joy ever come back.

And to make it more complicated, some folks grip their heartache tight because they find a strange sense of comfort by re-living the details of the loss.

Good news, the reason doesn’t matter. Instead, what makes the difference and brings one to the champion stage is obedience. Obedience to God’s instruction: “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55:22).

He will never, never let us fall.

That promise is fulfilled when we let it go. And when we do, God will strengthen us. He will hold us up through the journey. And He will equip us enough for us to make it to the finish line of victory.

That triumphant moment arrives when we transform our thinking, our words and prayers. We replace, “Lord, the pain is too much. I don’t know how long I can endure it” with something like “I trust You, Lord, when I release this deep pain, you will give me the freedom I need.”

The next step is to wait. Wait to see how He begins the mending. Wait to see how He comforts. Wait and see how He opens the door to a new chapter and a new heartache-free future.

He did that very thing for me. When my youngest son was murdered, doubt had to end, faith had to increase, and trust take over.

That’s the reason, with thankfulness overflowing in me, I can write this from my chair of victory, typing on the keyboard of faith and gratitude.

Thank you, Lord! Thank you for receiving our cares. For turning that pain to a divine purpose. For transforming each burden to a blessing and grief to peace.

Let’s pray:

Father, I’ve had this burden for way too long. I vow to let it go, and in faith, I step into the freedom that comes through the reassurance of your promise to sustain me. In Jesus’ name.

What is the burden you need to let go today?

Janet

______________________________________

Did you know I wrote a book filled with words of encouragement, uplifting thoughts and illustrations of real-life triumph to empower you? Its title, Trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow: Overcoming Adversities in Life. You can get it HERE.

CLICK HERE for a one-minute inspirational video.

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.

Please shareFeel free to share Janet’s posts with your friends.

Janet Eckles Perez

Some say she should be the last person to be dancing. Her life is summarized in this 3-minute video: http://bit.ly/1a8wGJR

Janet Perez Eckles’ story of triumph is marked by her work as an international speaker, #1 best-selling author, radio host, personal success coach and master interpreter. Although blind since 31, her passion is to help you see the best of life.

www.janetperezeckles.com

Missing s Sweet Friend

11 Jul

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

Recently, the pianist for our church celebrated her 40th anniversary as pianist.  The church as a whole celebrated with her.  We gave her gifts, and then, after the morning worship service, we held a luncheon for her.

One of the gentlemen in our congregation had a bunch of pictures from past church events printed up and put around on a table.  The picture below was one of them.  It was taken in about 2004 and includes Fred, myself, and a sweet friend, Lynn Latham. 

Taken at South Orlando Baptist Church

There is a story behind this friendship:  When we lived in Virginia, Fred was Chairman of the Personnel Committee with the Peninsula Baptist Association (PBA), which is a network of all the Baptist churches in the area that cooperate together, as Southern Baptist churches do.  Lynn Latham was part of the PBA staff, but I’m not sure just what her title and expertise was there.  Fred, being involved with the PBA, knew Lynn fairly well.

We moved to Florida in late 1995, and I became the church secretary in September 1996.  I was in that position until 2008.  During that time, I dealt with our local Baptist association, known as GOBA – Greater Orlando Baptist Association.

Credit Google searched GOBA website

So imagine my surprise one day at work to see the name Lynn Latham in the GOBA flyer that we get every month!  I called the GOBA office and spoke with the secretary, asking if Lynn had been with the PBA in Virginia.  Yes, she had been.  WOW!

So I spoke with Lynn, and gave her our home phone number (Fred wasn’t working at the church at that time), and told her to give Fred a call.

He was beside himself when she called and told him who was calling!  They had a very nice conversation.

Lynn and I became more acquainted through the years I was church secretary.  She had a heart as big-as-all-outdoors.  I’m not totally sure what all she did at GOBA, other than being the Director of Community Relations, and working with the Orlando Union Rescue Mission.  But I also remember she worked a lot with the “working girls.”  We had a luncheon one day at our church with some of those ladies that Lynn worked with.  They had left that life; some went to school, but all were all dressed well, and looking for honest work.  All that was Lynn’s influence.  She was a jewel!

We learned, quite incidentally in a conversation, a few years ago that Lynn had died.  I believe it was from an inherited disease.  It was difficult to get past that, for us.  Although we weren’t that close – and Orlando is a big city – it still hurt that we didn’t know of her death.  She never married, and didn’t live close to her parents.  

But in spite of all that, we know she accomplished on earth what the Lord wanted her to accomplish, and is now rejoicing with Him in Heaven.  And we’ll get to see her again, when we join her in Heaven, ourselves.  

Until that day…..We Miss You, Sweet Friend!

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Summer is Almost Over

8 Jul

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Being a life long (almost) Florida resident statements like summer is almost over once the 4th of July passes always evoked an eye roll from me. Florida summer tends to end in December.

Now that we spend summers in the wonderful North Carolina mountains, I can identify with the summer is almost over sentiment. In fact, I will go as far as to say, the year is almost over and it is not just flying, it is racing!

In June our daughter flew up for a short visit just before Father’s day. We picked her up at the Asheville airport and decided to maximize her visit time by abandoning the boring Interstate-40 and exploring The Blue Ridge Parkway. We would drive from Asheville all the way to Cherokee, NC. But first we stopped at Publix supermarket to get a box of their fried chicken. My husband loves it.

We had loaded some bag chairs into the truck in anticipation of an adventure.

While we were eating and relaxing, we watched a van arrive and a family spilled out, eager to explore. The children and teens headed for a small rock face and scrambled up, Oh the memories of our children’s excitement to escape the car and climb. I did experience a very small twinge of worry for the climbers but brushed it aside.

The drive from the airport usually take around an hour and a half. This day, with all of our lollygagging the trip took 5 hours and it was worth every minute.

One morning after her return to Florida, our daughter texted me that our security camera captured a bear on our back porch. The image was fuzzy but when we checked my husband’s game camera there he was. We marveled at his balance as he stole seeds from the bird feeder. He visited two more times until we got smart and began bringing in our feeders at night.

Last week the daughter of a cousin stopped by to spend a couple of nights with us. Last year she set out on her dream of traveling across America, living in her car and supporting her adventure as a delivery person for Door Dash. She was very happy to have a whole bedroom to herself as well as a shower anytime she wanted. She did work the supper hours while she was with us.

One morning the three of us drove up to our favorite place, Wayah Bald. She loves the outdoors and we hoped she would enjoy it as much as we do. The elevation is around a mile high and the air there is fresh and usually cooler. The famous Appalachian Trail runs through the bald and we were excited to see a truck parked near the path with a sign reading, Trail Magic. We spent several enjoyable minutes talking with the generous family.

The Hungry Hiker explains Trail Magic:

What is Trail Magic? Trail Magic is when someone does something really nice for you, unexpectedly, out on the trail, usually without expecting anything in return. Trail Magic can come from someone you know or most of the time, a complete stranger. We call people who provide Trail Magic, Trail Angels.

Trail Magic can come in many forms: a ride into town or back to the trail, food, cold soda, snacks, water caches, a place to stay in town, care packages sent to a town stop on trail, a cooler full of chopped fruit, lawn chairs in the shade, etc.

A few days later, the daughter of another cousin came to visit. She is a lovely person to spend time with chatting on the porch. On the final day of her stay we had lunch together at the Clayton Cafe, Clayton Georgia. It was my first time there and I will be going back! If you are ever driving up into the North Carolina mountains on highway 441, consider stopping there. It has everything including a wine tasting area! I love small towns.

Yes, the summer is moving quickly by. Next week we have more cousins arriving! I think this will call for another visit to The Clayton Cafe.

I'm a winner

After my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  

My 2021 goal is continue touse my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

What does God say about immigration?

3 Jul

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Reblogged July 3, 2021

July 2, 2021

I step away from the “normal” devotional I send you on a regular basis. And I humbly warn you as I’m about to share something personal, controversial and sensitive.

I appreciate, value and respect your opinion on whatever topic is rattling this country right now including illegal immigration. And because I do, let me tell you my story.

When I was 31-years old, a retinal disease robbed my sight completely. A friend visited me and said, “What are you waiting for? Get your application in for social security disability. After all, you have three little kids and you’re a naturalized citizen. You deserve it.”

It didn’t set well with me.

Deserve it? That didn’t set well with me. This is why.

In 1960, I was eight and my brother seven. Life was pitiful in Bolivia, and desperation was served at every meager meal in our tiny, dark kitchen.

So, my parents rolled up their sleeves and worked, sweated and struggled to meet all U.S. Immigration requirements to enter the country.

Four long years later, and with documents in hand, we arrived in Miami. Even before suitcases were unpacked, Father set his own laws. “This is the United States and the language is English. We will learn to speak it and learn it well.”

He also added there would be no excuses when opportunity came to work hard and live to our commitment to give, contribute rather than receive.

Years later, I still carried that mentality in my heart. And that’s precisely what erased any reason for my blindness to be an excuse. So, I studied, worked hard and what followed was an award-winning career as a Spanish interpreter. At the same time, I became a writer and inspirational speaker.

As a writer, I often tuck my opinions about illegal immigration in the privacy of my heart. But in a moment of boldness, I chose to impart this insight: If we enter the U.S. carrying deception, how can we expect to receive blessings for the journey?

The fear of God was considered.

Risking sounding boastful, I confess our family chose to enter legally because of fear. Fear of God’s warning about deception and fear of living void of God’s blessings because, “Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours” (Psalm 128:1-2).

And although prosperity followed hard work, our goal was to leave a legacy for our grandkids.

I cupped my grandson’s face in my hands and looked into his blue eyes. “You have to remember your great grandfather came to the U.S. riding in the airplane of integrity. You need to live up to that and carry that legacy.”

Speaking of legacy, I ask your forgiveness for the political incorrectness you’re about to read. But illegal immigration has nothing to do with legality. Rather, it has everything to do with the distorted legacy we’re leaving for generations to come.

Beginning a life under deception molds a mindset where welfare is a goal and hard work becomes an inconvenience.

Important Truths

We can’t allow these truths to vanish in the fog of confusion:

  • A sense of entitlement fosters laziness.
  • Excuse is the door to defeat.
  • Forced indoctrination of our children brings on social collapse.
  • Immorality paves the path to destruction.
  • Mocking God invites disaster.
  • Trust in government for provision keep deception alive.
  • Investing in courage and integrity pays dividends of success.
  • Trusting in God’s provision brings lasting rewards.

We deserve it. Yes, sadly we do. We deserve the consequences of a generation where laziness is accepted. Where wrong is rewarded, right is criticized, Godly views are silenced, and mediocrity applauded.

This writer believes immigration becomes illegal when those crossing the borders believe America is the land of entitlement. Wrong. America is still the land of the free.

That freedom was established by God through the founding fathers. And that liberty became the banner for early immigrants who learned English, worked hard, upheld god’s values, contributed and saluted the American flag.

They didn’t demand or complain. But rather, they sang gratitude to God for allowing them to live and prosper in the greatest nation on earth.

My family still celebrates the 4th of July with a banquet of gratitude served on the table of God’s Word. How about you?

Janet

______________________________________

Did you know I wrote a book filled with words of encouragement, uplifting thoughts and illustrations of real-life triumph to empower you? Its title, Trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow: Overcoming Adversities in Life. You can get it HERE.

CLICK HERE for a one-minute inspirational video.

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.

Please shareFeel free to share Janet’s posts with your friends.

If you enjoyed these moments of inspiration, consider supporting JC Empowerment Ministries. We keep going, keep inspiring and keep bringing Jesus light into the darkness only through your cheerful tax-deductible giving. It’s simple. Just hop over to this LINK. https://janetperezeckles.com/about/non-profit-tax-exempt-authorization-letter

Janet Eckles Perez

Some say she should be the last person to be dancing. Her life is summarized in this 3-minute video: http://bit.ly/1a8wGJR

Janet Perez Eckles’ story of triumph is marked by her work as an international speaker, #1 best-selling author, radio host, personal success coach and master interpreter. Although blind since 31, her passion is to help you see the best of life.

www.janetperezeckles.com

Letters From Mother 4

21 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Lites

May 10, 1983

Dear Ones:

Well, one more trip to the Salton Sea, we got here at 9:15 this morning. We came a new route, partway past some fine homes and estates over toward the mountains. We saw the Mariposa in bloom and a few Lupines. I was kind of dull and tired. So, we didn’t talk much, and it seemed like a long trip.

After I got all settled in, I was so hungry I had to have a sandwich and convinced Dad to have half. I’ve got to see that he eats now and then (so he will feel better and be in a better mood). Dad was in a hurry to be fishing, not at home, while I was trying to do my weeks’ worth of housework from Sat morning to Tuesday morning.

When we got here, Ivan and Lowell went as quickly as they could to fish. I took a short nap, and it turned out to be from ten to twelve-thirty. Guess I was tired.

I’m still messing with the package I want to send you. Haven’t been home long enough to get it wrapped—that’s the hard part—for me anyway.

Thank you for asking us to come to Florida in the summer. I’d love to be there, but, that’s when we take most of our fishing trips. Getting there sounds like a lot just now, so we will perhaps see you this coming winter.

Too bad you couldn’t come to California with Bill on his business trip. We could have had a good and cool time while Dad was at sea. 

As for the recipe, we were considering Helen’s and remembered that she always used rutabagas. That one calls for some hamburger too, but you could use a soup bone or boiling meat. I always like it with some well-cooked beef and the beef broth in it. My mother used to throw in a handful of barley. The recipe calls for rice.

Scribe Tribe sounds like a good name for your writing group.  We surely had a lovely day at Empress Lily in Disney World Village, didn’t we? (Well, I got off track there) Just had a glass of lemonade and cookies with Lowell. 

Looks like our cat Patches will stay permanently with Lynn and Harold now

The painting is coming along. I’ll go tomorrow and probably will finish the trees. Bought another $20.00 in art supplies yesterday. Thank you for your thoughts on the cost and the pleasure of learning. Dad said he’s glad for me to do it and will be glad when I can sell some pictures. But I said don’t count on it. You know how long I’ve been waiting for you to sell a fish. 

Kathy has some other jobs coming up: one with the state to do with unemployment office work, one part-time, and one full-time, about an hour commute. The part-time will give her Kaiser medical coverage and unemployment. So now it is a matter of deciding which to do.

Love Mother,

P. S Dad took me to see the young fish in the sea and asked me to go fishing. (Some guys have been doing well with their wives along with fishing.) I’ll be glad when he feels happier inside. 

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

Sound Theology

13 Jun

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

I’ve mentioned in previous musings, that I am on facebook quite a bit.  And if I find something that resonates with me, I “save” it and sometimes use it in a blog post.

That’s exactly what I would like to do with today’s post.  I found this particular cartoon by Charles Schulz, and it appealed to me, so here it is.

Credit facebook and Charles Schulz

Credit facebook and Charles Schulz

Why did this particular cartoon spark my interest?  Well yes, it WAS, indeed, sound theology.  And sound theology from God does, indeed, have the means to comfort and reassure us.  I have, personally, found that to be quite true.

How often have I found Satan trying his best to sway my thinking to something that God would not want me to be thinking about?  Far too often, that’s for sure.

So what do I do – to get my mind off that topic and onto something pure?  I turn to Scripture.  There are many Scripture verses that I have learned/memorized, that lead me right back to God.  Satan cannot stand to be in the presence of Scripture – it literally drives him away and out of my mind!

One of my favorites – and one I’ve quoted in oldthingsrnew before is:

In this world you will have trouble, 

but TAKE HEART!

For I have overcome the world

John 16:33

But the Scriptures that help me the most, are ones that praise and adore God Himself.  They lift me up as no others.

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty

Who was, and is, and is to come!

Revelation 4:8

and again:

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty,

The whole earth is full of His Glory!

Isaiah 6:3

You see, it doesn’t take a lot of memory space to praise God.  But that SOUND THEOLOGY gives peace like I’ve never had before.

And just for your information – those Holy, Holy, Holy words are the words batted back and forth among the angels, before God’s throne.  WOW!  I get to magnify God with the angels!  Amazing!

I am so glad God made a way for me to praise and adore and worship Him that way!

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

My Children in Church~Part 1

13 Jan

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

A memory came to my mind recently that caused me to giggle.  When I described it to Fred, my husband, he chuckled, as well.  Hope you think it’s funny, as well.

You see, in most Baptist churches (we are Baptists, as you might surmise), children have their own Sunday School classes, divided by ages.  That way, they can learn about church and God at their own age level.  We as parents try to do our part in that, teaching them by the way we live, speak, and act, that we are children of God.  In any case, by the time a child reaches the age of four, they are allowed to go to the regular worship service, rather than still being in a nursery/classroom setting during that time.

Because Fred and I have always been in the adult choir during worship services, we usually enlist the help of an older couple to “sit” with our children in the worship service itself.  If we are in a small enough congregation to allow the choir members to leave the choir loft and return to the regular congregation, we then will pick up our child/children and sit with them during the remainder of the service.  However, if we are in a large church, the choir usually remains in the loft during the service.  What I am about to tell happened in a large church.

 

I guess we had not told Karen (our oldest daughter)

 

Karen about the age of this incident

 

 

that when Janet (our youngest daughter) was “promoted” to the five-year-old class, she would be going into the worship service. Or if we did, she didn’t absorb that information.

So, what to my surprise, did I see Karen ANDJanet beaming at us from the second pew, as we entered the choir loft the first Sunday after Janet turned four-years-old! Karen had taken it upon herself to go and get Janet from her class that day!

All went fairly well for a while, but then Janet, being the tease that she was,

 

Janet at the age of this incident

 

decided she wanted to sit on the front pew!  So she eased herself around the end of the pew. I saw Karen trying to coax Janet back to the second pew, i.e. face set in an imploring expression (head tilted up, mouth in a hard, straight line, eyes closed), index finger stridently indicating that Janet should return to Karen’s side!  And, of course, Janet was ignoring her completely.

 

Well, Janet made it to the front pew, just as the preaching began.  As it turned out, the minister of music (who was a good friend of ours) had just left the stage area and sat down next to Janet on the front pew.  I watched them throughout the remainder of the service (I have no recollection what the Pastor preached on – I was too busy watching the drama enfold!).  Every time Janet wiggled, our friend just patted her hand, and she stopped wiggling. Whew!

We managed to get through the service, and thanked our friend for taking things into his own hands.

And we made sure that Karen understood that Janet was not to be taken into the service until she had been promoted to the next age class!

But, as I said, as I look back on it – it makes me giggle to remember.

 

Children are a heritage from the Lord….

Psalm 127:3

JUDYJudy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing.
Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.
After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.
She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

What to say to a depressed loved one. 

1 Oct

Walking by Faith , Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Depression, anxiety and worry are the enemies trying to kill our peace and they are on the rise among men, women, and teens. Why? Few know the answer. But here, Dr. Michelle Bengtson has important guidelines so you can help someone begin the victory path.

09-23-16 Bengston

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” Proverbs 18:21

What we say to others can either build them up or tear them down. We must take care not to further injure someone in their suffering from something we say.

As a neuropsychologist, I’m witness to the well-intentioned but misdirected words of friends and family to depressed loved ones that only serve to pull them down further.

When people suffer from depression, they often also harbor low self-esteem, guilt, and shame. What they crave is to know they are loved, accepted, and not alone.

Let Scripture help you determine what to say to a depressed loved one: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Here are a few things to say to someone struggling with depression:

  • I love you. There is no better time to hear this than when they are struggling to love themselves and wonder if others truly love them too.
  • I’m here for you. This is one of the most comforting things you can say to someone feeling alone.
  • You are important to me. It’s vital to know they are still acceptable, accepted, and important.
  • I’m sorry that you are going through such a painful time. Expressing your sorrow for their pain communicates that you care, even if you don’t fully understand.
  • Is there something I can do for you? This communicates your willingness to help and just your offer will lend comfort and encouragement.
  • You may not believe this now, but you won’t always feel this way. The depressed individual often needs reminding that there is hope.
  • We will get through this together. This communicates your acceptance, and your love.
  • Nothing. Actions often do speaker louder than words. I remember when Job encountered great hardship. Job 2:13 says his friends came and sat with him for seven days and nights. During that time, they didn’t speak a word because they saw how great his pain was. Words could do nothing to help his misery, but their company spoke volumes.

Remember, when you are speaking to a depressed loved one, your goal is to encourage and uplift them. “But if it were me, I would encourage you. I would try to take away your grief” (Job 16:5 NLT).

How will you encourage a loved one today?

 

Source: What to say to a depressed loved one. | Janet Perez Eckles

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