Metamorphosis

Butterflies are one of the most beautiful creations that God made. I especially love Monarch butterflies. As my husband and I were returning home from a quick trip to the grocery store, I glimpsed my first Monarch butterflies of the season. What a beautiful sight. This reminded me of our trip to Pensacola in the fall.

We were eating in an outdoor restaurant and there were Monarch butterflies everywhere we looked. As we returned to our car, there were Monarchs nestled together on shrubbery and trees. They were huddled in groups. I had never seen so many Monarchs. On the news that evening, they spoke of the Monarch migration. It made sense as to why we were seeing so many Monarchs.

animal-beautiful-biology-bloom-675313Those tiny butterflies were traveling to Mexico. Many had already come long distances. Some had flown all the way from Canada. How do they know where to go? There are only a few mountains in central Mexico where Monarchs migrate for the winter. The oyamel fir trees provide the perfect place for them to survive. These butterflies will never return to the beaches of Pensacola because when it is time to migrate back to the summer places, they lay eggs and those little caterpillars grow and then form their chrysalis where they blossom into a beautiful Monarch butterfly. It can take 4 or 5 generations of Monarchs to get back to their summer breading ground. How do they know where to go?

While the Monarch Butterfly only lives 15 to 50 days, something amazing happens when the butterfly starts to migrate to Mexico. The Monarch becomes a super butterfly that will live around eight months. This butterfly has the strength to travel between 2000 to 3000 miles to get to its migration destination. It lives through the winter and then starts the process all over again by laying eggs on the milkweed for the next generation of butterflies.

God our Creator made them with the ability to know where to go in the summer and where to go for the winter. Even though many generations have passed and the butterfly has never been to where it is going, it knows where to go. It is inborn. When it needs the strength to fly over vast amounts of space, God has given the strength and ability to accomplish its task.

We are made by our creator with certain intuitions and abilities. God creates us to be who he wants us to be. Then it is up to us to become who he designed us to be. God also gives us strength and determination to accomplish the tasks that seem more than we can fathom. He gives us the strength to go through more than we think we can handle. We become more than we think we are because of the strength God gives us in times of need. Like the tiny butterfly that can travel 2000 to 3000 miles, we can accomplish amazing things for the Kingdom of God. What is inside of you that you need to let out? What is God trying to do through you? What is your super power for God’s use? If God took such care to design a butterfly with such detail, how much more does God our Father, design us to be His and do His work?

The scripture tells us:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

https://www.monarch-butterfly.com/monarch-butterflies-facts.html

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The Praying Place

Not too long ago, my family began to get my Daddy’s house ready to sell. My Daddy had lived a life with rich blessings from the Lord and had made his way to heaven to join my Mother. The house had been their home for almost 30 years. With the help of my brother, my husband, and our family we began the task to get the house ready for sell. My family had already tagged some of the items to go to their own homes, but we were trying to go through closets and boxes to see what needed to be kept and what needed to be thrown away.

Then the time came for the house to go on the market. What a blessing it was when the house sold. The realtor told us that when the young couple walked in the door of the house, they looked at each other and said that this was the one. They had not even seen it yet. They said they felt the Lord there. What a legacy.

If that house could talk, it would tell you of the conversations people had there and how much the Lord was loved and worshipped. I remember leaving the house for the last time with mixed feelings of never returning but thankful for the young couple who bought the house to start their life together. When the last of the papers were signed and the house was officially theirs, I told them about my Daddy and how he was a man of prayer. I told them of the tremendous number of hours that he had spent in prayer for his family, his pastor, his church, his Sunday School class, and the list went on. He had two particular places that he prayed. He loved to pray at the dining room table because he could spread out his Bible that had his prayer list inside. He sometimes journaled his prayers and that gave him room to write. He would also pray in his chair in the corner of the den. He always met the Lord there and they had long conversations in these two locations. I told them that these were places that the Lord met with him daily. If they needed to make an important decision or had a need, these were the two places in the house that had been prayed over the most. 

Where do you pray? Where do you meet God each day? Do you have a particular place that has everything you need to pray and worship the Lord? Where would your family say your praying place is?

The scripture says,

“But when you pray go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you”. Matthew 6:6 NIV

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35 NIV

“On the next day, as thy were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray”. Acts 16:13

Welcome Home

My daughter and her family recently went on a vacation. We had met them at the airport  when they left to get their car so they did not have to pay parking. As they were returning, we made signs with the names of our two little granddaughters. As we waited at the bottom of the escalator, I could hear the anticipation of families waiting for their family member to arrive. One little boy just couldn’t wait for Granny to get here. Others were waiting for grandchildren to arrive. Two children couldn’t wait to get off the escalator to get to their grandparents. Then a young man in a military uniform came down the escalator. His mother was calling to him and a big smile burst on his face when he saw her. Another family had a sign for their military daughter.

At last our family was coming down the escalator. Our oldest little granddaughter called out to us. You would think it had been longer than the week that they had been gone. She ran around me to get to her PawPaw. That’s ok. I grabbed for the baby. I was thankful that they arrived home safely.

welcome-806163_1280As I watched more people emerge from the escalator, I had a beautiful picture come across my mind. I began to think of the ultimate Welcome Home. How beautiful heaven must be when loved ones emerge into view. Some separations have been a long while but others, only a short time. No matter the amount of time, this joyous reunion is forever. Parents seeing their children. A husband seeing his beautiful wife. A Mother seeing her precious child lost far too soon. No more goodbyes. This is the Eternal Hello!

Heaven is a place for Jesus to Welcome Home those who belong to him. How beautiful are the ones who come to Him because they have believed in him. How blessed is the Salvation he has offered as a gift. Jesus has a special place for each one in heaven. 

Jesus said “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” – John 14:2 ESV

Heaven is a place of worship. 

“…so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11

“And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom. That all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve him His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; And his kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:14

Heaven is a place of unending happiness.  

“So the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion,
And everlasting joy will be on their heads
They will obtain gladness and joy,
And sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 51:11

 “But you are A chosen Race, A royal Priesthood, A Holy Nation, A people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

When Jesus says, “Welcome Home” it is forever. 

Welcome Home!

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Red Clover

I have loved red clover since I was very young. I can remember going for rides in the car on Sunday afternoons during the spring to look at the red clover that was planted on the side of the road or in fields to hold the soil in place while the ground was resting. My daddy would always be on the lookout for areas of red clover so he could take me to see them.

My daughter lives in a new housing development that has areas that are not yet under construction. On a recent visit to her home I saw large areas of beautiful red clover that were planted to keep the ground from washing away. Red clover is so beautiful because it is so bright in color. I thought it would make a beautiful setting for a picture of my two granddaughters. What could possibly go wrong?

I spoke to my daughter about what she would want them to wear in the picture and we chose matching Easter Bunny tops and pink and white shorts. The clover was not very far away but we chose to drive so we could do this quickly. As we pulled up next to the field, the 4-year-old started squealing with excitement over all the butterflies she could see in the clover. They were so beautiful.

As we were getting the baby out of the car, I began to see that there were not only yellow-and-black-honeybee-on-pink-petaled-flower-1309008butterflies sipping the nectar from the clover but bees. We picked a spot for the picture and laid down a little blanket and placed the girls on the blanket hoping they would ignore the bees that were not too far away. I began snapping pictures but was only able to get 4 pictures before a bee flew by and the 4-year-old was done. The beauty of the clover was over for her. She no longer remembered the butterflies. The beautiful red of the clover and the green of the leaves were history as far as she was concerned. 

Beauty comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Beauty can be interrupted very easily. Sin, like bumblebees, can cause a beautiful situation to lack its luster or cause fear. Sometimes sin jumps in with no notice and everything is ruined. While from a distance the red clover could only be seen for its amazing beauty, on closer inspection we found bees. We must be watchful for these interruptions and recognize them for what they are. We should not let them ruin the beauty and joy that we are experiencing.  

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.”  Luke 12:27

They surround me like bees. Psalm 118:12a

Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. Song of Solomon 2:12

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Is There Scrabble in Heaven?

Recently a family friend went to be with the Lord. She had been a friend of my family for 25 years or so. She had been a friend to both of my parents and to me. One of her hobbies was to make crochet dish cloths.

person-holding-purple-crochet-hook-and-white-yarn-3945638The summer before my mother died, Mother had asked our friend to make some dish cloths for my brothers and me for Christmas. My Mother could no longer crochet because of her arthritis. Not too long after my mother died, our friend called my Daddy to let him know about my Mother’s request and that the dish cloths were ready. He stopped by to pick them up and noticed that she had a Scrabble game set up where she had played with family the day before. He sat down and played a game with her. That was the beginning of a Scrabble friendship that lasted until he died. If it was Tuesday, it was Scrabble day. It was something my Daddy looked forward to. What a precious friendship between two people just wanting to play Scrabble. She had a Scrabble dictionary that my Daddy called the King James of Scrabble. I think she knew most every word in there. My Daddy didn’t challenge her very often. When she died, I began to wonder if she was in heaven playing Scrabble. Jesus told us:

“I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2b 

I just have to believe that her place has a Scrabble board. She and her husband had played at least 3 games a day for many, many years. When he died, there was a space of time that was empty. I am so thankful for the friendship that my Daddy and our friend had around a Scrabble board. They both looked forward to the game but also the friendship. I miss knowing that she is no longer here on this earth, but I know where she is and that I will see her again.

So many of the people that I love are in Heaven. I am so thankful for the Salvation we have through Jesus Christ and the knowledge that Heaven awaits believers after our last breath on this earth. 

I have no way of knowing if there is Scrabble in heaven, but if there is, I hope that my friend will always have a place to play her 7 letter words. I also hope that she has a triple letter square to play her Q and Z.  Maybe my Daddy could beat her in a game once or twice in Heaven. Probably not. That’s ok. He learned how to lose gracefully over the years. 

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the LORD.” 2 Corinthians 5:8 KJV

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Perfect Rest

What causes you to have the best sleep? There is nothing better than having nice, soft, clean sheets to help me sleep. The last time I changed the sheets, I must have pulled out a set of sheets that we had not used for a long time. They were stained and had a few holes in them. They didn’t have that soft, silky feel that I like. My husband commented on the sheets and I told him that I would retire them when I took them off the next time. When I changed the sheets again, I folded the old sheets and sent them on their way to where sheets go when they retire.

I had placed the clean sheets on the bed but had not gotten back to put them on the bed when my husband said he was going to go relax and read. I said I needed to put the sheets on the bed so he helped me. It is always funny for him to help with the sheets. photography-of-bedroom-1034584First of all, this bottom sheet has elastic all the way around so it is hard to tell which way it goes. We got tickled as we readjusted the sheet for the proper fit and finally got it on. Then it was time for the top sheet. We have always placed the sheet on the bed and then said, “I have this much. How much do you have?” Then we will readjust so the top sheet and then the quilt start out even.

It really doesn’t matter how much my husband starts with on his side of the bed because I usually end up with the sheet and the blanket. When you have a husband who travels as much as mine has over the years, you get used to wrapping up in the covers and then having to readjust when he comes home. There was all the difference in the world in the feel of the new set of sheets. Rest came easily that night.

Ah! Peaceful sleep. 

Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NAS

“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.” Psalm 4:8 NIV

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29-30 NIV

What wonderful rest that must be. Jesus’ rest. I have heard of Beauty Rest mattresses and Egyptian cotton sheets, but just imagine Jesus Rest. How amazing is that. 

Th next time you change your sheets, remember to ask Jesus for that Perfect rest that only he can give. 

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I Was a Non-Person

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My birthday was in November, but I did not realize until December 2nd that my driver’s license had expired in November. I knew that they give you about 30 days to renew so I didn’t panic, I just went to the courthouse to get a new one.

Everything was going fine until they took my picture. The lady at the desk told me that my eyes didn’t match my previous picture. Really? These are the only eyes I have ever had.  Apparently, the computer software digitally measures your eyes to determine whether the pictures match. They took 4 pictures and still could not determine that I was me. How do I prove that I am me? 

document-id-uk-driving-license-driving-licence-45113I was told that I would have to go to a driver’s testing facility to get my license. I was to take my social security card, birth certificate, passport, and marriage license. I knew that my social security card, birth certificate, and passport were in a secure place but had no idea where my marriage license was. I sure hoped I did not have to prove I was a married person anytime soon. I knew that we had a license, but where it is might have been was a question that did not have an easy answer.

While looking for documents, I realized that my passport had expired in July. That meant that my 2 pieces of identification that had a picture were both expired. I was definitely a nonperson. How was I going to prove that I am me? 

My husband and I went through our bills and found several pieces of mail with my name and address. I then set off to try to prove my existence.

I arrived at the driver’s license facility and took a number. As I sat there patiently, my mind began to wonder what was going to happen if I could not resolve the problem. How would I prove who I am?

I began to think about what I could prove about myself. I could bring in people who could attest to the fact that I am me, but what could I prove about myself. I am 8 years older than that picture on my license since I renewed my license online. My red hair has turned blonde so my hair was not cooperating. The documents that I had were specific to me, but would they believe me?

The scripture that kept coming to mind was 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Well, maybe I just needed to take a look at my driver’s license and make sure that all things are new.

bodyworn-794099_1280When it was my turn and I explained my problem. The state trouper said that they should have never taken my picture with my glasses on 8 years ago. The technology was relatively new then and they have learned a lot. She did change my hair color to blonde but told me that blonds have more fun. I have had a lot of fun as a red head but I guess those days are just memories now. I was happy to be a person again – with identification.

I know that the Lord does not need a license or a passport to know my name. He has known me since before I was created in my mother’s womb. I am thankful that when I get to heaven, He will know who I am and find my name in the Book of Life. I look forward to living in my forever home with my Lord and Savior. Until then, I will make sure my license does not expire again.

 

Dear God, Mommy is Mean!

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“Dear God, My Mommy is mean!!!” This was my granddaughter’s prayer on a recent Tuesday night when she did not get her way.

As I looked at the video monitor, I saw my precious little 4-year-old granddaughter on her knees by the side of her bed telling God about how mean her Mommy is. How many times does a Mommy have to say “This is the last time” or “don’t get out of bed again”? The problem was that I was rocking her baby sister and putting her to bed while her Mommy was getting the 4-year-old ready for bed. She wanted to come give me a good night kiss but her mother could see on the video monitor that the baby was asleep. 

Parenting is so hard, but so is grandparenting. Grandmothers want to kiss away all of the boo-boos and make everything right. Her Mommy let me go in to pray with her and tuck her in. She was not interested in praying about what she did wrong, but she wanted to make sure that God and I both knew what her Mommy did.

Then, as I tucked her in, she wanted to sing I’ve got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in my Heart. I thought this was cute and had to hide my smile. The principle is that she knew to take her problems to God. She had already been taught to pray and to talk to God.

This is a lesson that we can all be reminded of at any age. No matter what the problem is, we can take it to the Lord in prayer. He is interested in our life’s problems no matter what they are. The next time you get down in the dumps or life does not treat you right, bend your knees in prayer before the Lord. He is always there and will listen to the hurts of your day.

1 John 5:14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

Jeremiah 29:12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

LET US PRAY!

Ice for Christmas

One of my favorite Christmas memories was really an unusual Christmas.

The year was 1989. My husband and I decided that we would like to have our own Christmas celebration instead of going to either of our parent’s houses on Christmas Day. This was not a popular decision in our family, but we thought the time was right to start our own traditions. Our son was 9 years old and our baby girl was 16 months old.

I had purchased a turkey and the trimmings to make our own small Christmas dinner. I had decorated the table and was ready to cook on Christmas morning. The temperatures for Birmingham, Alabama, were unusually cold that year. It was called the Siberian Express. From December 23rd – December 25th, the temperatures did not get above freezing. The temperatures were between 1 degree to 15 degrees. This is extremely cold for Alabama any time of the winter.

trees-253178_1280As I was about to put the turkey in the oven, my father in law called and said that the pond was frozen. My husband told me to put the turkey back in the refrigerator and we would cook it later. We needed to go see the pond. We bundled everyone up with extra socks and lots of layers and ran across the street to go behind their house, down the hill, and then down the bank to see such an amazing sight. The pond was indeed frozen all the way across and back in the trees further than we could see.

We knew the water was not deep under the ice so if the ice broke, there would not be danger of not being able to get out of the water. My husband went out on the ice first. He would walk a few steps and then slide a few. He was having so much fun. My sister-in-law and her husband went out on the ice. They were having a great time.

We had a sled from years past that was rarely used. We put our two children and our two snow-sky-clouds-winter-70448nieces on the sled and pushed them out just a few feet to get their picture. We figured this would never happen again in their lifetime. The children were 9, 5, 16 months, and 12 months. What a picture and what a memory.

We were concerned about the younger children getting too cold so we took them inside my in-law’s house and started taking off all the layers we had them bundled up in. The fire was so inviting. We started hanging wet socks and gloves up in front of the fire. My mother-in-law made hot chocolate and we all got warm inside. She always made the best hot chocolate.

After I got warm, I went back out to the pond. It was amazing and beautiful at the same time. My sister-in-law and her husband started walking on the ice again and it started cracking. My sister-in-law started going toward her husband and he told her to move away. There was too much weight in that area. We laughed and laughed. It was such a fun morning.

The next thing I knew, it was lunch time. My turkey was still in the refrigerator. My mother-in-law knew everyone would be cold and hungry so she was making chili. Chili for Christmas dinner? Yes!!! It was wonderful. Everyone was tired and cold and wet from playing on the ice. What an amazing day.

Later that afternoon a neighbor came over with his tractor with the wagon hitched up to it. We all piled in and had quilts under us as well as on top of us. He drove us back out into the pasture land behind the pond and then around the surrounding area to see all of the neighbors’ ponds. We sang Christmas carols and had a wonderful time. 

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By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast. Job 37:10 ESV

There was a magic about that Christmas Day. Even though we did not have our turkey dinner, it is a day that we will never forget. God’s handiwork was so beautiful   He forms each ice crystal and makes them unique. He protects the fish under the ice. He is such a gracious God. He gave us his one and only son as a gift of salvation so that we would be able to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. I will never forget this day. There was fun. There was family. And there was faith. What more could a person need on Christmas.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 ESV

Fire on the Stove

The smell of Cinnamon is a delicious smell. I can remember those delicious cinnamon toasts that my mother made for breakfast when I was growing up. We would always eat the parts with the extra pats of butter on them first. I can taste them just by thinking about them.

I had not made cinnamon toasts in a long time. I was changing around the spices in my cabinet and had not replaced the container of cinnamon when my husband came into the kitchen. He wanted to know what I was going to cook with cinnamon. I didn’t have french-toast-995532_1280the heart to tell him that I was just cleaning the cabinet so I asked if he wanted cinnamon toasts for breakfast. At our house, we add extra syllables to cinnamon toast. It’s more like “cinnaminny toasties.” I do not remember how that started but it is still what my husband and I call them.

The next morning I was preparing the cinnamon toasts and I looked at my cookie sheet. It really needed a good scrubbing, but that was going to have to wait. I thought I would just put some parchment paper on the cookie sheet and save the scrubbing for later in the day. I should have just used it. It’s not like it was dirty. It just looked dirty.

I usually make cinnamon toast in my toaster oven, but my toaster oven and I had a parting of the way recently so I was using my oven broiler. Never, and let me say it again, Never use parchment paper when using your broiler. It caught fire immediately. I calmly said, “I need some help here.” Eddie turned to see the cookie sheet in flames as I slid it on top of the stove. Let’s just say that I didn’t need a fire extinguisher, but none of my cinnamon toasts survived. We had a good laugh after the excitement was over and then made new cinnamon toasts. I used to have a smoke alarm in my kitchen but it went off every time I cooked so we moved it further away. I had a sign back then that said “Dinner is ready when the smoke alarm goes off.” I really haven’t had a fire in a long time.

I love the smell of fragrant foods cooking. When I think of the smell of cinnamon I think of cinnamon rolls, apple cider, spiced apples, and apple pie. I think it smells like love. The smell permeates the area and fills the room. I think love must be like that. When someone really loves you, it feels like it is all over you. It is hard to find a place that doesn’t feel loved. I think that is what the love of God is like. He loves us from the outside in and from the inside out. Jeremiah 31:3 ESV says “The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have drawn you with loving devotion”. Cinnamon draws you in. It brings you to the kitchen from anywhere in the house. Cinnamon leaves such a wonderful smell all through the house. It seems to linger.

I think if God’s love has a smell, for me it must be cinnamon.

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