Peach says: Just a quick note to see how everybody is after Ian!
Batman and I, along with our youngest son and his son, rode it out safely and soundly and with much gratitude! And some large quantities of Snickerdoodle’s. As I like to bake on rainy days, and cool days. And it was definitely a rainy couple of days!
It was the first storm I got to weather with Batman! As all previous that came to our area, he worked of course! That’s what policemen do! Have I mentioned how grateful I am for these retirement years?
Ian will turn out to be discovered as a crazy strong storm from what I have been reading about from a local storm tracker, who road out the entire storm in a parking garage in Punta Gordy, with other trackers and also was able to connect with some very seasoned meteorologists, who had some absolutely ASTONISHING data on Ian.
It made me evermore grateful for how we were spared this time in our area. It was positively supernatural that this storm did not have near the impact that Matthew or especially Irma did on us here.
Going to be remembering SW Florida, and all of Florida in prayers for the foreseeable future as we figure out how to rebuild.
Lord, inspire us all how to help. Please lead the people who are bereft and weary and overwhelmed, show them whether to stay and rebuild, or if their season is to move. Grant them provision, wisdom, courage, peace and hope. Remind them and then lead them into Your joy, which is their strength and confounds the enemy of our souls. Raise up Your people who are to move into the torn up places and rebuild them! Let these places be remade and flourishing and grounded in You! Thank You for saving so many and the mercy we have experienced! Heal and comfort those whom are hurting and experiencing great loss. In all of this Lord, be glorified! May many, many, many be brought near to You! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Love and bon fires, Y’all! Love and bon fires! I think they can cure a whole lot!
Some thoughts. We lost my Dad on 1 January of this year. It hits me in sharp moments, out of the blue. Like a sneak attack. 💔
There’s been lots of joy this year as well. Batman’s first year of retirement! 🥰❤️🎉🎉👏🏻👏🏻 First full year of SEVEN grandchildren!! 😍🤗 And more good and more hard, and unexpected things besides.
You know, life is like that. It’s not all one thing, right? It’s not just one emotion. it’s processes and pain, and joy and excitement, hope and forgiveness.
I’ve seen in those I love, and experienced myself, grief like I never expected. I’ve seen and experienced wonderful moments of love, and joy, faith and hope right in the middle of it all. Thank God for the WONDER and the GOOD right in the middle of it all, even in the pain.
God is SO faithful, and I do not say that lightly. He really, truly is. The good thing about being in your 50s and having been walking with Jesus for almost 29 years is you learn a lot, hopefully! (though I had a L-O-N-G way to go, and STILL do have a long way to go! 😂😂). But, you do, you learn that nothing but Jesus is permanent. Everything else is learning and moving and loving and living and dying and beginning, and ending and enduring and outlasting, and forgiving and making new ways, it’s a LOT of moving pieces. And the Lord is with us through it all. Making us able. Helping us do the right thing. To have His heart. To believe in and hope for the best, once more again. To be flexible. To give, because it’s right. To surrender. To take that first step or maybe make that first move. To get up and go again. To savor the good today, and shake off the dust from the bad yesterday. And if today is bad, you can shake it off, too, and tomorrow, walk in the new. Jesus has already gone ahead of You, and He has provision for you there! And He’s right here with you in the now, to help you in the going.
We don’t wait to be happy, (and yes, I agree, happiness and joy are different, but that’s for another post!) we choose the happy on the way and in the process, or else we will never be happy. Sometimes we forget this, and that’s ok, as long as we stick with Jesus and have a few Godly, Jesus loving people around us, to just remind us by how they live, that we get to choose. Happy is possible. On the way.
And all of that is to say today I thought about Nehemiah 8:10 “…the Joy of the Lord is your Strength”, and Y’all it’s no joke. I wanted to boil it down for you, but of course I couldn’t quite get there. (It’s SO BIG, Y’all!! 🤗) Trust me, this IS the short version! 😂 But, the full verse 10 is this —> “Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: NEITHER BE YE SORRY; for the JOY of the Lord IS YOUR STRENGTH.”
Really you need verses 9-11 to really appreciate it…but His joy, is our STRENGTH…joy is that everlasting, enduring quality we are able to have through our confidence in Him, His character, His presence, His love for us, in spite of temporary conditions, (and everything on this side of Heaven is temporary).
He makes us able to choose joy, and that will give us great strength, like a fortress for us, that makes us untouchable, where it really counts, in our spirit.
To ‘be not sorry’, was the priests urging the people not to grieve so much that they wore grooves into their face, they had grieved, and that was good and necessary, but don’t stay there. Choose to celebrate, to eat the best, drink the sweet, send good things to those who weren’t established and therefore didn’t have the same wherewithal, because ‘this day is holy to the Lord.’
And so the people did. Because they understood they were God’s people and He loved them, and He had a Good way for them to live. And now that they knew this, (they had just learned how badly they had broken God’s laws their entire lives) they would now be learning how to live a NEW way, (well, new to them), walking with Him. And that was something to celebrate! Not grieve for the wrong they had done, so much so that they couldn’t enjoy the newness of life WITH Him.
We sometimes have to grieve, then we let it go. Then we celebrate. The life that’s still here. That’s new every day. All the time. A gift. And share. Share with those that aren’t established in this good news. The JOY of the Lord is your STRENGTH.
I think I’d like us to talk about the difference between happiness and joy in a future exploration! Percolating!
We really appreciate y’all coming by to visit! We always hope to have something entertaining, thought provoking, or uplifting for you here!
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” — Matthew 24:6-8 KJV
I recently wrote that nowadays the world seems on fire and I just can’t watch it burn. I believe in being informed. But, it’s also important not to be misinformed and it’s also important not to fall in the trap of getting emotionally worked up and either angry, fixated or hopeless. I mean that’s what the donkey and the elephant want. It’s what the ‘news’ media and social media want. But, it’s not what I want. It’s not what Jesus wants for us either.
I was raised to pay close attention to society, religion and politics. For many good reasons. however, that was long before the 24/7 instant news-tainment was a thing, much less a hand held device to keep it coming constantly, right?! I have to turn my phone face down at night or the flashing ‘urgent’ notifications wake us up at night! Lol.
I started pulling back from the news November 2018. But, at the turn of this year I felt the Lord encourage me to keep my eyes on Him, so that I don’t get distracted from what’s most important. For me, too much news crowds out what, for me, is most important to my assignment. (I believe we all have assignments, more on this another day!)
I stay informed. But, I keep it short. And I move on. The verse He put on my heart, I come back to over and over, it’s a commonly quoted verse on social media, because it’s bulletproof! — “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” — Isaiah 26:3. Says it all for me. And it’s so true!
I particularly like in the Matthew 24 verse above, that He tells us ‘See that ye be not troubled’. It means we have a choice in whether we get upset or not. By His grace we can relearn how to respond to the news. I have to try to not be shoved, mentally, into the quick reaction the media is hoping for, (and the political parties as well). I’m learning response is measured and I control it. Reaction is volatile and it controls me. That’s not going to work. It’s not what we are made for. Self control is my favorite fruit of the spirit. Now, I’ve come a long way in this regard, but of course, I still have far to go! It’s ok though! I’m learning and the Holy Spirit is a great teacher.
Here’s another fool proof verse for keeping our focus so that we are most effective at being salt and light wherever we are and whatever we do! — “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, THINK on these things.” — Philippians 4:8
For me, my goal is to not dull my shine, not waste my salt. Train my mind to respond, mentally to what I learn, pray and move on, not react and get emotionally worked up, which leads to (in my case) unhelpful attitudes, and words. It’s tricky. Because I do believe there’s a lot of evil in this world. And evil can cause a reaction for obvious reasons. But, in the darkness light shines the brightest! We have His light if He lives in our hearts, so I’m going to respond. In faith. And move on.
I’m learning. Like Robert Frost said ‘And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.’
This might be the start (or might not, we will see!) of a Tuesdays are for Thinking series!
I hope your day is filled with His peace and thoughts of virtuous, lovely and ‘good report’ things!
Some thoughts on 4 things I’ve learned. Being a parent is such a great gift. It teaches you so much about how we are supposed to live and our relationship with our Father. And the kids themselves teach you beautiful things, too.
Free Will: As a parent, the Lord taught me the power and purity of free will. We really don’t give Him enough credit for that one. It’s huge. And it’s like a boomerang, because you get to choose, every day, all the time, all these things. And you are attached to these choices, so you will own them, and He has grace for you to overcome and make more wise choices, and it just goes on and on. It’s a strong Father that can do that. No cajoling, no pleading, just free will. Because only what we WANT to do, with a glad and happy heart is what He longs for. ❤️
Unconditional Love: I’ll never forget learning this lesson. It was so painful. When our oldest son moved out (a longgggg time ago) the Lord showed me, that while I loved our son unconditionally, I had not shown that love to him unconditionally. It was a crushing realization, but we learn our most from our mistakes. It’s not enough to love unconditionally. You must communicate that love in a manner that shows it’s unconditional. People on the outside looking in, will judge. They will think they know better. They don’t. Nobody but you and the Lord really know. You live before Him. And Him alone. And He’s the best teacher of love and parenting. Anything I ever get right as a parent or grandparent it’s because I listened to the Lord. Anything I miss. Anything I get wrong, well, it’s because I went my own way, even though unintentionally.
Two things I learned from our sons:
Don’t rush. Be still, be slow, enjoy the moment, take it all in. Take your time. Breathe. Kind people are not in a hurry all the time. Gentle people are not rushing around. That’s it.
Acceptance: accept people for who they are, just like they are. Not as we’d like them to be. Or how we think they ought to be. But, just as they are, just like that. It might sound strange, it’s so simple a thing. Just accept. Here’s part of the dictionary definition: “the action or process of being received as adequate or suitable, typically to be admitted into a group. “you must wait for acceptance into the club” – this is a quality of children, right? We tend to lose it as adults, but I don’t think either of our sons ever lost it. I think they got that from their Dad, and I learned it from them.
This is what happens when you’ve had the virus and been having too much time in your head! 😅💚
Recently we went a few days getaway up in northwest Georgia. The cabin had all the things we needed to enjoy a few quiet days, on the river, feeding the numerous and friendly deer, and fishing!
I, personally, left the fishing to Batman and our youngest son who came with us! All I wanted to do was take a few pictures to try to capture some memories and read my book!
It was very restful and peaceful and refreshing! There were all sort of geese along with the fish here and there. And the deer, well, EVERYWHERE!
The river was the star of the show for me. I couldn’t stop looking at it. It was in the back yard, there was all kinds of seating and it was just beautiful. The whole time of our visit it was consistent in the way it flowed and gurgled and splashed its way over the rocks. Sparkling and inviting in all of its activities!
I spent vacation looking for messages from the Lord in our time of much needed rest and recreation! For me, I came away with two things. The biggest message was the river itself, steady, flowing, lush and sparkling, ever onward without fail or ebbing, just constant. It made me think of the Goodness of God, always in front of us, so much that it’s more than we can grab hold of, more than we can really comprehend, the overflowing, never ending, always available Goodness of God! Always available to us, to jump in and get all we can, be immersed in, splash around, we can’t contain it, but it is always there for us!
He’s taught me about His goodness in a similar fashion years before.
The world is a wild place these days. A hurting and confused place. It needs the Goodness of God. It needs us, each of us, as the Church to be immersed in His goodness so much that we overflow with the love, the peace, the joy, the patience, the provision that He makes available to us, so we leave a trail of His goodness wherever we go.
He made us agents of His grace and mercy, His Kingdom way of living. It doesn’t mean we don’t fail, flail and fall, but it means He is able to work in us to bring His way of living to bear wherever we go.
“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” — 1 John 3:8b
“For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” — 2 Corinthians 5:19-21
“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” — John 10:10
Listen to that, Y’all! ‘Have and ENJOY life, and have it in ABUNDANCE, to the full, til it OVERFLOWS!!’, flowing like that river, Y’all! Flowing, flowing, flowing! Steady, steady, steady, over the rocks, around the dips and valleys…matter of fact a low place just means MORE WATER!! (Aka more GRACE!!) Nothing stops it! His goodness is coming to bear in our lives! Destroying the works of the enemy!! Healing our sin problem, delivering us from the curse, sin, death and the grave! Giving us a new heart! Sending us forth as containers of His GOODNESS.
I want to add that as beautiful as His plan is, we spend an inordinate amount of time down on ourselves, down on our many ways we fall short. I’m learning though, that His grace just comes in stronger, filling in that low spot in us, in our relationships, and in our counterproductive little habits and our idiosyncrasies that trip us up. In our weakness, we need to be claiming and expecting His strength to come in, His Grace is made perfect in our weakness.
“But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!” — 2 Corinthians 12:9.
He is able to, Y’all! — “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” —2 Corinthians 9:8
We are imperfect, and that’s no surprise to Him! Just keep floating in that grace River, Y’all! That’s where you will find me!!
Every Sunday and Monday, I start the week thankful for the previous week and blessings and mercies of the Lord in our family, in our lives. It is good for me to remember and look for His hand upon our lives, with gratitude. Then I ask with great expectation for His Spirit to move upon us again, in an Ephesians 3:20 — “Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]”
Let Your River (of your goodness and grace) flow, Lord, flow right over me!! Flow over my family! Let it flow right over every person and their loved ones who read this, Lord! We look to You and your goodness!!
Oh, taste and see, the Lord, He is good!! Psalm 34:8.
Hope this post finds you doing fine! Not exactly sure how this will turn out! Just some thoughts that have been brewing. We shall see how it goes!
“4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” — Psalm37:4, KJV
Recently-ish, as I was driving to work, the thought came to me that the word ‘SURRENDER’ has a bad rap. We misunderstand it in the context of the need for it in our relationship with the Lord.
It is thought of in a negative sense, from a worldly point of view. Like losing, giving up, missing out, not being seen or heard.
But, The Holy Spirit was in the middle of teaching me a lesson. That Surrender in the Kingdom of God, leads to all kinds of GOOD things.
To surrender to God, means to yield to Him. To make ourselves available for Him, a vessel fit for His for use. Like a large, old time sailing ship, with the sails unfurled and ready to be filled with the wind to propel the ship towards its destination.
In April 2015 I was diagnosed was Diabetes. It was a tremendous shock. Early on, a verse that has been important to me as I navigate this was “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” —2 Corinthians 12:9.
It was never a verse I got excited about. Just being honest. But, over these years since, I have pondered and turned and thought about it in various applications, and am continuing to learn from it. One of the best parts is the fact that He is not looking for our strengths, or what we can do for Him, or what we can bring Him. In fact, our strengths, while a blessing and definitely a gift, can also be a place we tend to forget about Him. Because much like a child, ‘I do it my own self’ sort of mentality creeps in on us. We don’t even realize it.
But, when we know our weak spots, we are more likely to make room for Him, His Holy Spirit, His strength, His way of doing things!
Surrender isn’t giving up. It’s the humility of being yielded. Fully available for our Lord’s use. In other words, it’s a power move! It’s us making ourselves available for the strength and power of God to work in and through us, — “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” — Isaiah 40:29.
One of my (many) all time favorites, has blessed me over and over and over again, is listed above, Psalm 37:4, — “Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”, and it’s a great illustration of this principle of surrender, of yieldedness — at work in our relationship with our Lord. To ‘delight’ in Him, as used there, means to be soft to Him, pliable to Him, and as we do this, we are then in a position to be entrusted with the most precious, and secret desires of our hearts, the too sensitive, too precious to even speak to another, because they are so unlikely in their exquisite goodness, thosedesiresofourhearts! It’s because in that instance, our hearts have begun to beat with His. And we are in agreement for His Ephesians 3:20 goodness in our lives!!
This Hawaiian Hibiscus pictured above is tender, fragile, and not strong at all. It is also brilliant! Gorgeous! And so pleasing to the eye!
If it was strong and sturdy and rigid…it would not be much of a flower! But, as it is, I can’t look at it without smiling and feeling joy! That is what it is here for! It is fulfilling its purpose!
If that sail boat above, wanted stronger, more sturdy and inflexible ‘sails’, it would not be effective at letting the wind fills its sails, and then going where the wind blows! It’s better to have yielded sails, able to be FILLED with the sea breeze!
Let the weak say “I am strong!”
Lord, here I am! Use me! I want to be yielded to You! Gladly will I boast in m weakness, as Paul said, for then You can be strong in me!
It’s good and Spring now! It took awhile but it’s really here now!
We picked up a couple of blueberry bushes and some more hibiscus (the yellow, some of them above).
Jerry got them planted this week and mulched. He is quite the gardener! Have I mentioned that I’m totally nuts about him? 😍
I don’t know if it’s the mood I’m in this year, or the age I’m getting to, but I LOVE flowers!! Flowers, flowers, flowers!
Spring is a season of transition, of hope, of promise of things to come, signs of life, renewal, newness of life, out with old, in with the new, cleaning up, clearing out.
It can be a lot. But, there’s also, a lot that it can be!
I love the holidays AND winter so much. It’s often hard for me to let go of winter and embrace the change and newness of Spring
But, I’m determined to not be that person stuck in the past. To value, appreciate and enjoy the past while fully rooted in the now, and reaching forward to the promise of the future!
Nature teaches us to embrace the cycle of life. It’s our example from the Lord for our good!
Like the flower above, the full goodness of what’s in store ahead does not yet appear, but we can trust our Good Father for the Ephesians 3:20 — “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” of life! If it’s not good yet, hold on, trust Him and SEE what He does!
We had a grand ole time on Easter Sunday with all the kids! The Dads hid the eggs and the Moms stuffed the eggs! Then we let loose the hordes and the kids found the eggs!!
“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” — Genesis 8:22.
Because the world can’t make enough British Murder Mysteries (of the sort we both like) we from time to time watch our ‘Rob Squad Reaction’ Channel, and take a Bee-Bop down memory lane.
Then every once in awhile, we go on an all out Rock and Roll binge of (mostly) 80s rock.
And as a completely sold out, Biblically rooted Jesus loving girl, I know we are not to be ‘stuck’ in the past. But, can I just ask if we can we just have the 80s back? I mean, the movies, the music, the vibes, everything was so hopeful! *Sigh*
I know the dissatisfaction we are all feeling is serving a good purpose. To cause us to search for The Only Real One, in a world of decidedly UNREAL.
But, I digress! I’m going to just leave some links to fun videos. Nothing new, all oldies AND goodies!
Eddie Rabbit – ‘I Love a Rainy Night’
Joan Jett ‘I Love Rock and Roll’
Stevie Wonder ‘Signed, Sealed and Delivered’
Pretenders ‘Brass in Pocket’
Def Leopard ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’
While those times were simpler by far, and I can’t see, or hear a video from back then, or watch a movie from the 80s, without feeling the tug of the sheer, wide open, hopefulness and the ‘sky was the limit’ that that age was saturated in, I do know the times we are in, here and now, are an absolute privilege to be in.
As the story the Lord is telling, of the age we are in, begins to draw to a climax, there is a growing awareness we live in significant times and there is so much to be done! It can feel overwhelming and quite daunting really. But, if we take heart, and draw strength and wisdom from the One Who Made Us, each day, one day at a time, there is grace, so much grace to do more than we imagine!
With God, all things are possible, and the sky isn’t even the limit! Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, what God has prepared for those who love Him! (Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27, and 2 Corinthians 2:9)
I was encouraged by Peach many years ago to put some of my thoughts on Firearms Instruction into a book form. If you know me you would realize how funny the thought of me writing a book on anything actually was. But being a good husband I started to write things down (yes, I actually know how to write, do they still even teach that in school?) and eventually had enough material for a book. This lead to finding out how to actually get the book out there for people to see. Amazon publishing’s program was the answer for me, straightforward and easy to figure out the basics. Funny, now I’m up to 3 books, and even though the masses are not rushing to buy them, I get a bit of satisfaction knowing I did that, and it’s all because I hate to disappoint my beautiful Peach. You get bored, check them out if nothing else they have cool covers.
Natural Shooting, Ramblings of a Country Boy, and Morning’s Glory are all on Amazon, and coming soon the full version of “The Bevan”.