Thursday, September 19, 2013

Birthday Ponderings...Chosen To Be Loved

I went for a pedicure this week. It just happened to be the day after my birthday and I was sharing a story with my technician about a birthday of several years ago...actually a double gift.

My cat, Bonnie, had disappeared and I was in deep mourning for I loved my cat, as I have loved every cat since my first at the age of 12. My husband said, "why don't you go the the animal shelter and pick out a kitten for your birthday." Well, I thought this to be a splendid idea. It would help me through the grieving process of losing Bonnie.

So, I ventured down to the local animal shelter and wandered the aisles till my eyes fell upon a cage with TWO pair of eyes staring back at me. They screamed, "take US home with you." Well what's a girl to do but oblige? We took care of the necessary paperwork and the next day I returned to pick up my two new family members.

Sweet "Bucky Boy"
My husband was very understanding for he knows my tender heart. That was 13 years ago and one of them is still living. My "Bucky Boy" is the sweetest, most lovable cat I've ever had. It's as though he knew I rescued him from certain death...I chose him.

I was chosen too, before the foundation of the world was laid. (Eph 1:4) I was chosen to know the one true God, but I lived my life wanting to be chosen for all the wrong reasons. It wasn't until I came to realize my worth was not in what I thought of myself, but what He says OF me and ABOUT me that my perspective changed.

He also says in Psalm 139:16: All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. So not only did He choose me, but He wrote out my days in a story. How deeply personal is that? Can any other religion even come close? I think not. It can't because it's a relationship between me, a human, and a holy God.

He chose you too! If you're breathing and moving about on planet Earth He wants to write an ending to your story in His book...The Book of Life.

For God so loved the world
that He gave His one and only Son
that whoever believes in Him
shall not perish 
but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Read it with new if you've never read it before. Christ can give you eternal life. My cat is going to die someday and I will miss him terribly....I certainly wouldn't give my life for him even though I chose him.

The One who chose me DID give His life for me...and you! I've received many gifts and celebrated many birthdays since, but none will ever equal the gift I received in His Son. Maybe today is your day to add a new name to the book, The Book of Life, real life, abundant life!

Blessings from My Little Corner,

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Family...You Gotta Love 'Em

Family...we take them for granted until a crisis comes and the unthinkable crosses our minds. If we live any distance apart we know they're only a phone call away, a days' drive or we can hop on a plane and see their sweet faces and all will be right in our world.

I know all too well the facts of life can be harsh where family is concerned and yet I, even I, take them for granted. Makes me want to turn myself over my own knee and give myself a spankin'. I should know better.

Ruth(l) Alice(r)
(Circa 1954)
I have very few close family members left on my mom's side of the family. She came from a large family that scattered to different states. Her older sister, Virginia, moved back to West Virginia to my hometown from Florida, to help care for Mom when her cancer returned. Virginia was fourteen years older and more like a mother figure to her in many ways. They were very close. Her daughters, Alice and Ruth, were a few years younger than Mom so she spent a lot of time with them as they were growing up.

Mom loved her family dearly. She was constantly trying to get them together for a family reunion, even as sick as she was. Sadly, the last time they were all together was her funeral.

After Mom's death, Aunt Jenny(Virginia) gave me a home when my dad remarried. From one generation to the next, she was taking care of her family.

Uncle Roy, Aunt Jenny, Mom, Ruth(holding Doug)
Me on the left(goofy grin),
Debby, youngest daughter, died in Feb.2011
Circa 1964 
This past weekend I drove to West Virginia to visit my cousin, Ruth, who had surgery for a serious medical issue. While driving, I had time to think of family...of those no longer with us...those whose lives have made an impact on me as a child and even now as an adult. Our family is filled with an unusual amount of tragedy, cancer, addictions and trauma. And yet, there is a remnant of God's faithfulness.

My mom had a special relationship with her nieces, Alice and Ruth. When I went into ICU that Friday evening and saw the smile on Ruth's beautiful face, the face that looks so much like my mother's, the trip was worth every mile driven.

God left a remnant of her and her faithfulness to Him when He left me in the care of her sister, Virginia. Now, her daughters, Ruth and Alice, are the bearers of that remnant of faithfulness. They are the reminder to me, that God hasn't forgotten my mother's faithfulness to Him. They remind me of my place in my earthly family. They remind me that I am loved. My mother would be so proud of them for the way they have treated her daughter. And so would their mother, Virginia.

Who do you need to love on? Is there a lost child in your family that may need a reminder of their worth? Every child needs to know they're part of a family. There isn't an age limit either. So, go love on your family. Forgive those who have hurt you. Life is too short to do otherwise.

If you'd like to share your family stories, I'd love to hear them.

Blessings from My Little Corner,

P.S. My heartfelt thanks to all who prayed for my cousin last week. Her surgery went well and she will be out of the hospital soon. Now the waiting...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Decisions, Decisions...One More Adventure??

Sometimes I like to go back in time through the pages of my life. Not only does it help me keep things in perspective, it helps me with the future. When I write it down in My Little Corner, it's a record for my children...a living, breathing part of me. A place they can return and know how their parents began their journey, lived their life and maybe someday figure out what made their momma tick.

It was about this time of year in 1978. We were young newlyweds with a dream of building our first house. After meeting with a builder with our house plans, those dreams were dashed, so we moved on to Plan B.

Earl (right)
My husband, ever the man of adventure, at 18 years of age, built a log cabin using The Foxfire Book as his guide. He did it the old fashioned way of cutting the trees and hauling them out of the woods with a team of horses. I'm told it was a sight to behold since we'd not yet met one another.

We decided to finish the log cabin into our first home instead of building a normal wood structure. We worked diligently throughout the autumn months and moved into our new home two days before Christmas. Nearly all of the work was completed by the two of us and we were so thankful that Christmas to have our little house to call home. We considered ourselves blessed, then and now.

I was attached to that little house. I kept it spotless...inside and out. Because of my childhood scars a home was sacred to me. We worked hard to make the house and yard something to be proud of. We rarely had visitors since we were on top of a mountain. It would never grace the pages of Better Homes and Gardens magazine but to me it was perfect.

So you can imagine my horror when he says to me one night, "What would you think of leaving West Virginia?" My answer to him was, "Well, I wouldn't!" And then I cried myself to sleep.

That was in October of 1984. We moved to South Carolina in January of 1985. I knew it then and I know it now, that it was God's plan for our lives. In July 1984 I made the statement while we were vacationing in Myrtle Beach, SC, "This is a nice place to visit but I would NEVER live here." Guess where I moved in January 1985? You guessed it...Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Leaving my log house, friends and family was gut wrenching....I thought I wouldn't survive, but I did. What memories we have on that little mountain and in that town.

But God....those two little words. He knows best. He had so much waiting on me in South Carolina.

I have to keep reminding myself of these things because that husband of mine is asking questions again. Questions I don't want to hear. Oh, he doesn't want to leave our town. He just wants to downsize. It seems we're always having house issues.

Ok, now here's where it really gets difficult for me. We've lived in the same house nearly 16 years...that translates roots...deep roots. I don't want to let go of my home and yet there's the future to consider.

So I'm torn.

As women, we're made to create comfortable places for our families to feel loved and welcomed...a place where they can return and know they're home. I've been building my nest and stuffing it with all sorts of twigs and leaves making it as comfortable for my family with everything that says "home" to them. I want them to have what I missed out on as a child...a home to return to after they're grown. So that's my dilemma...

I know there are far worse things going on in the world. But I also know that each of us have decisions in our personal lives to make every day...decisions that affect loved ones. You may be trying to decide something right now that is tearing you apart...whether to stay in a marriage that you desperately want out of...maybe a decision about putting an aging parent in an assisted living facility...a prodigal child...a better job, a serious medical problem...and the list could go on and on.

 Life can be complicated can't it? It's full of twists and turns. But there is One Who never changes. He is the same today as He was yesterday and He will be the same tomorrow. He wants to be in the midst of our decisions every moment of our lives. That's why I look back at my past so much because I know that just as He guided me then, He will guide me now. He will give me peace as I wrestle with this issue. In time, He will give me the answer I'm seeking.

You are safe in His very capable hands. The hands that flung the stars in place can surely help us with our decisions. All we need to do is ask.

When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which You have set in place.
What is man that You are mindful of him
and the son of man that You care for him?
Psalm 8:3-4 ESV

Blessings from My Little Corner,

P.S. I mentioned a sick family member a couple of weeks ago...she is having a serious surgery tomorrow and prayer would be greatly appreciated for her! Thanks so much!