Passing On Traditions

My daughter and son in law took their two daughters to an Alabama football game. They have been teaching them the traditions of Alabama Football. They are learning the cheers and the songs. They have Alabama outfits and pompoms. This week they were even decked out with stickers. They love the Elephant Walk and the Walk of Champions.

I have friends who are Auburn fans who love to show their children or grandchildren the eagle flying across the stadium. Every school has its own traditions. It is so much fun to participate in what makes your school unique.

While participating in sports is fun and watching the future generations carry on traditions, there are other traditions that are even more important. It is the responsibility of each generation to pass on our faith to the next generation. Our family currently has 3 generations attending GFBC. Our son and his family attend GFBC with us. Our daughter and her family attend in their hometown.

I have prayed for the salvation of my grandchildren since before they were born. We only have the 4-year-old to go. What a blessing it is to see faith in Jesus Christ passed on to another generation. I love seeing the grandchildren participate in choir and missions organizations. They have been involved in Sunday Bible study and worship services. One has gone to camp. Another will go to camp this summer. I am so excited that they love Jesus and love going to church to worship Him.

Proverbs 22:6 NIV. Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

I claim this verse for my grandchildren and for my niece and nephews. The next generation may mean different things to you. It may be children of friends, nieces or nephews, neighbors, children you teach in Bible groups, or other children you come in contact with. How beautiful it is to pass our salvation on to the next generations!

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
Isaiah 52:7

Phone Call to Heaven

Every once in a while I pick up the phone to call my Mother. She has been in Heaven since 2006. Why is it that I still feel the urge to give her a call? Recently, it has been because of my grandchildren. She loved having grandchildren and would absolutely love her great-grandchildren. There are times when I think that I need to tell her about something one of them has done and I reach for the phone. She would love it. I remember how she wanted to live long enough so that her grandchildren would remember her.

What a joy it would be if she could know these precious children that I have in my life. Christian is amazing. He can sit and talk to you about the Titanic and give you all kinds of details about this amazing ship. He loves history and has all kinds of information ready to share with anyone who will listen. She would have sat for hours listening to him talk and loved every minute of it. Mother made dolls and would have loved to share them with the girls. She would have loved having tea parties with them and playing dolls.

There are so many things that I would love to tell her if I had just one more phone call. When my daughter was getting married, I had even dialed the number to ask her opinion on something. How does that continue to happen? This past week, I picked up my phone to tell her about how cute the girls were at their dance recitals. She would have loved to see them all dressed up with their hair “just so” and a little bit of make-up.

I think of my mother as my cloud of witnesses mentioned in Hebrews 12:1. She was faithful on this earth to love the Lord. She was an encourager to so many people. Even when she could no longer get out of her home, she had her phone. The Lord would put someone on her heart and she would call them. 

She loved to sing about Jesus. I miss hearing her sing. I know many songs because of hearing her sing them over and over while she was cooking or washing dishes. 

There are a lot of things I miss about her, but I think I really just miss sharing life with her. I think the love that lasted for so many years has continued to remain in my heart so that I want to continue to share life with her even in her death. I think love never really dies when we carry people with us in our heart and in our memories. We will have a lot of catching up to do when I meet up with her in heaven. What a day that will be!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross,scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

My daughter had a very busy weekend. Her in-laws have a family reunion the first weekend in June every year. It is a two-day event; only this year, she and her husband also had the Garth Brooks concert. She decided to leave the oldest daughter with her in-laws and bring the youngest to us. No problem. They are so easy one at a time.

I knew I was in trouble, though, when my daughter texted me and told me that Tori Laine had fallen asleep. When they arrived at my house, she only woke up enough to insist that her mother carry her in and that I would rock her. She slept another hour. I knew that was not a good sign but with just one little granddaughter, I could handle it.

When she woke up she wanted to play outside, so we played and did a few science experiments. When she got hungry, we came in and had supper and then read books. She played on my phone for a little while and then I thought we should be getting ready for bed. About the time we were settling in, she decided she was hungry. So, we had a quick, late snack. Needless to say, Grandmommy was getting tired.

After our snack we said our prayers. That is one of my favorite parts of having grandchildren spend the night. I love how they are learning to talk to the Lord. After prayers we started singing “Jesus Loves Me,”,“Jesus Loves the Little Children,” and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” I sang all of our regular verses to “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” but she wanted more. We sang about her cousin’s kittens and then about Aunt Gale’s chickens. We sang about the birds in the sky, then the dogs and the cats.

About that time my daughter sent me a video of Trisha Yearwood singing, and I told her I needed more names. She sent me my granddaughter’s class roll. I got corrected by Tori Laine because we had already sung about a few of them. My brain was about to stop working when she told me she was tired. She held my hand and got really still. I started praying for her like I do whenever we snuggle. I prayed for the Lord to give her understanding so that she would come to know the Lord at a very early age. I was about to pray for the people who would have influence on her young life, when I started hearing “Baby Shark” being sung in a very soft voice. I don’t know about you but I have a hard time praying when “Baby Shark” is being sung in the background.

She finally went to sleep. Praise the Lord!

As I was thinking about all of the verses we had sung for “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” I thought how glorious it is that the God of Creation holds us in the palm of His hands. The God who created the divided the light from the darkness and the evening and morning was the first day (Genesis 1:3-5) cares about me. The same God who separated the waters from the heavens on the second day (Genesis 1:6-8) cares about me. The God who separated the water from the dry ground (Genesis 1:9-10) cares about me. The God who filled the earth with plants with seeds (Genesis 1:11-13) on the third day and saw that it was good, cares about me. The God who created the two great lights of the heaven, one to rule the day and the other to rule the night (Genesis 1:14-19) cares about me. The God who filled the sky with birds and the seas with fish and all that swarms the seas (Genesis 1:20-23) cares about me. The God who created all forms of animals on the earth (Genesis 1:24-25) cares about me. The God who created Man and then Woman in His own image (Genesis 1:26-31), knows me by name and cares for me.

Yes, He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands. He has Scarlett and Tori Laine in His Hands. He has the Mommies and the Daddies in His Hands.  He has You and Me Sister, in His Hands. He has You and Me Brother, in His hands. He has everybody here, in His Hands, He has the Whole World in His Hands.

My Grandmother’s Ring

My Grandmother’s wedding ring has been a joy for me for many years. My Grandmother died when I was 27. She had wanted to be a Great Grandmother and I was pregnant, so it was sad to me that she died before my child was born. I have enjoyed having her wedding band. It is pink gold and has been special because I am the only granddaughter.

I had a really tough couple of days and was feeling really tired. I had been wearing her ring along with my wedding bands. I sat down to work on my bible study and realized that her ring was not on my finger. My heart sunk. I had been several places and it could have come off anywhere. I looked all over my house and down in the furniture. I cleaned out my purse to see if it had fallen off there. I just knew it was gone.

Later that day, I went to Publix. I was just picking up a few things for a special dinner for my husband who was celebrating 35 years in his job. His award had been delivered that week and I wanted to have a special dinner with his award sitting on the table. As I walked through Publix, I felt like something was in my shoe. It was starting to get irritating but I did not want to stop to empty my shoe. As I walked up the steps from my basement with the groceries, I realized that what was bothering me in my shoe seemed round. I thought it would not be possible for that to be my grandmother’s ring. As soon as I got upstairs, I took my shoe off. What a joy to realize that my Grandmother’s ring was in my shoe. I felt like celebrating!

I was reminded of the parable of the Woman and the lost coin in Luke 15:8-10.

“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?  And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’  Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (ESV)

Just as she called in friends and neighbors to celebrate, I now celebrate with you. I realize it is a ring. Imagine how much more the angels celebrate when a lost person repents and comes to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Jury Duty

We had just enjoyed a beautiful day with extended family and my husband went out to check the mail. He came back inside and said, “This looks official.” I opened the letter to find out that I had been assigned Jury Duty. I had never served on Jury Duty. The last two times I had been called were difficult times while I was taking care of my Daddy. One time he had broken his neck and the other time, he was requiring more assistance with life. I was allowed to be dismissed from duty. This time that I was called was a perfect week for me. I had no Bible Study responsibilities and no appointments. There was no reason for me not to show up so I accepted the responsibility and went to serve.

This was new for me so I did not know exactly what to expect. I had never been sworn in for anything. The Pledge of Allegiance was as close to being sworn in as anything I had done during my life. I was selected for a jury and we proceeded to the courtroom. The courtroom was not what I expected at all. I guess I have watched too many Matlock reruns. The courtroom was smaller than I expected but it was still formidable. As we were lined up and sent into the 6courtroom, I thought that this was starting to be real. There were a group of candidates for the jury and we were asked many questions. I was not selected for this jury but I learned quite a few things. 

First, I realized that I did not remember my Civics that I studied in high school. I needed a refresher on some things. 

Second, I realized that if I ever found myself on the other side of the courtroom, I would appreciate knowing that there were some good people who gave of their time to make decisions that would be honest and just. These were just regular people. 

Third, I am thankful to live in a country that has a judicial system in place. I realized that I do not pray enough for the judges and courtroom proceedings and decided to strive to make that a matter of prayer.

Forth, I am thankful to live in a country where a person is considered to be innocent until proven guilty. I did not hear the evidence before this court since I was not on the jury, but I feel that the system was in place to give justice to the one who needed it.

Ecclesiastes 3:17 “I said to myself, “God will bring into judgement both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.”

Proverbs 21:15 “When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.”

Amos 5:24 “But let justice roll on like a river, righteous like a never-failing stream!”

“When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” Proverbs 21:15

Wrecks!

In the last few weeks, I have been driving on roads that I do not usually travel. I have had appointments that have taken me to different areas of the city. On one of my trips, I was driving on a new section of the interstate. My husband and I had only traveled on this new section of the road one time since it had reopened. As I was driving on this day, I was in a section where two lanes merge into one. I was behind a very large dump truck and there was a very small green car in the merging lane. As the lane ran out for the green car, it merged right into the large dump truck. The two vehicles collided with each other and then both moved to the shoulder on opposite sides of the road. I had no choice but to drive right through where they had hit each other. It was very unnerving.

Yesterday, as I was driving in the city, I was on a one-way street that had 3 lanes. I was driving in the center lane. There were red lights every few blocks so we were traveling at a very slow speed. The car in front of me had its left blinker on and was coming almost to a stop. The truck behind me must have decided we were not going fast enough, so it whipped around us in the left lane just as the car in front of me turned left. The car turned left from the middle lane of a one-way street! Needless to say, the truck from behind me ran right into the side of the car in front of me as it was turning left. 

Two wrecks in front of me in a matter of days made me feel like maybe I should stay home. I have seen wrecks before but this seemed like too many right in a row.

What causes people to have a wreck? Inattention? Not being familiar with the road? Not knowing which way is the right way?

The Bible gives us directions and instructions on which way to go. 

Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on you own understanding; in all you ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

God has a plan for us and His plan is the best. He will never leave us alone. As we travel along life’s journey, we should always ask God to be with us and protect us. A prayer before you leave one destination for another is a great way to take the Lord with you wherever you go. 

This is what the Lord says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go. Isaiah 48:17-18

The Lost Bracelet

My daughter and I have loved collecting Pandora charms for our bracelets. It was always fun to go shopping at our favorite jewelry store to pick out charms that we wanted to add to our bracelets. My bracelet is more of a family event bracelet with charms that were engraved with names of family members and charms representing certain important days. My daughter’s bracelet was full of family events, Disney charms, and charms for her favorite sports team. We had talked about dividing her bracelet into two or maybe three bracelets so it would not be so full.

I remember the day that she told me she had lost her bracelet. She could not remember the last time she wore it. She just knew it was gone. She had looked everywhere. Then, we looked everywhere, again. She had always taken such good care of her jewelry. Neither of use could think of anywhere else to look. She was so devastated. I just thought it was gone and had even considered starting her over with a new bracelet. Some of the charms would be discontinued but she could make new memories. The jewelry store that engraved the names on the charms no longer carries Pandora but I had considered giving her my engraved charms.

My daughter is in the process of moving. All of the furniture has been moved but she was still working on the closets. I received a phone call yesterday from my granddaughter. With an excited voice she said, “Mommy found her bracelet!” I asked if it was her Pandora bracelet and she had to ask her mother. She came back and said, “Yes!” My granddaughter proceeded to tell me that it was in a purse on the shelf in the closet. My daughter took over the phone call and told me how it was in a small zipper purse inside of a larger purse on the top shelf of her closet. What amazing news. All of her memories that were represented by charms were safe. We were both beyond excited.

With all of the things going on in the world, a bracelet is not going to solve the problems of the world but it was a joy for this family. 

One of my favorite parables in the New Testament is about a woman who searched for a lost coin. This coin may have been part of her dowry or her family’s savings. What is important in the story is the urgency of the search. 

Luke 15:8-10 ESV “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?  And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’”

When she found the coin, she invited her friends and neighbors to celebrate with her. I have not enjoyed wearing my bracelet because my daughter could not wear hers. I think I need to celebrate by buying a Pandora charm or a new bracelet for my daughter to divide her bracelet. What joy we will have in wearing our bracelets and celebrating that she found her bracelet.

Seasons of Life

What a joy it was to become a grandmother when my first grandchild was born. It was one thing to love our son, but there is something so precious about holding your child’s baby. It seems like yesterday that he was just a toddler running around our home at warp speed. This week he went to middle school. How did that happen? That little boy grew to be taller than I am and is ready for the next stage in his life whether I am ready or not. 

My daughter has two little girls who are six and three. They started first grade and Pre K 3 year olds. This is the first time that both girls have been gone all day to school. I have spent the last few years going to their home on Tuesday afternoon to keep them on Wednesdays. The younger one and I had all day on Wednesday just for the two of us while the older granddaughter was in school. Of course I had both of them during the summer. We have had so much fun cooking, painting, drawing, and doing crafts. We added science experiments to our list of things to do this summer. We memorized the Frozen movies and sang like we were the main characters. We almost wore the rocking chair out with all of the books we read. We have loved reading Bible stories, too. My favorite time is bedtime and the snuggles that I get from sleepy little girls. There is something about rocking a precious little one when they are falling to sleep. Then, there is the joy to pray over each one for salvation, safety, good health, and that person that will marry them one day. 

Just as children grow in the blink of an eye, the life of a grandmother changes quickly, also. On the first day of school, I waved to them as their mother drove both of them to school. The silence in the house was deafening. The only noise was the occasional sound of the ice maker. 

This is a new season of life for me. I will no longer be needed for all day on Wednesday until next summer arrives. Yes, I will still visit and play with the girls but it will not be the same. Our scheduled visits are over. I will cherish all of the time we have spent together. They are changing so fast. 

Before I know it, they will be in middle school and the grandson will head to college. I rejoice that all three of them are happy and healthy and doing what children are supposed to do. I pray that God will protect them each day and keep them safe. I pray that they will learn what is set before them to learn and then build on those skills the next day. I pray that they will seek God’s divine will in their lives and live life to the fullest. 

This week, I have just been reminded once again that:

1 For everything there is a season,

a time for every activity under heaven.

2 A time to be born and a time to die.

A time to plant and a time to harvest.

3 A time to kill and a time to heal.

A time to tear down and a time to build up.

4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.

A time to grieve and a time to dance.

5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.

A time to embrace and a time to turn away.

6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.

A time to keep and a time to throw away.

7 A time to tear and a time to mend.

A time to be quiet and a time to speak.

8 A time to love and a time to hate.

A time for war and a time for peace.

9 What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 NLT

Making It Home: Cooking From the Heart

“Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” Proverbs 31:31

When I think of home, I think of food. I love a good, home cooked meal. Now that there are just two of us, I don’t cook as much. I remember going through cookbooks and figuring out something new to try. I don’t have as many cookbooks anymore. I find it easier to google a recipe and look at the choices that come up. Those recipes are generally very good and easy enough to prepare. But sometimes, getting a recipe off the internet just doesn’t seem good enough.

That’s when I go back to the little brown box with the decoupage rose on top with my mother’s recipes. Some are in her handwriting and some are in mine. Some recipes are on 3×5 note cards and some are on little pieces of paper. Others are typed. I know the typed ones are the ones she shared with others. People always wanted her recipe for Sour Cream Pound Cake, Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies, and her Chocolate Pound Cake with Never Fail Chocolate Fudge Icing. I have enjoyed making her recipes and these are some of my family’s favorites. I don’t have to ask what kind of cake my two adult children want for their birthday.

There are other recipes that are special to me too. I want to be sure that even with the convenience of internet recipes, these recipes get saved through the years. I have begun to digitize the recipes in my Mother’s handwriting even with the places that have cake batter and splatters on the recipes. My Mother’s favorite punch recipe and her favorite Date Nut Loaf that she made at Christmas are still favorites of mine. I can smell the smells of these favorite foods in my memories of long ago, or I can make it myself and remember all over again. These special recipes bring my memories of home to life and make me remember what it was like to be a child helping my mother cook and then as a mother myself, to cook with my children. The love shared in the kitchen and the smells of delicious food is a wonderful memory of home to be passed through the generations. 

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Share with us in the comments one of your favorite recipes!

Praying on Cruise Control

It had been an unusually busy Sunday afternoon and my time got away from me. I had a meeting at church at 5:45 for a project some of us were working on. I had updated my notes for this meeting but had not printed them. It was time to leave but I had to print my notes. I turned to my computer and clicked print. I heard the printer start up so I ran (walked quickly) for my shoes. The printer was still printing. Ok, purse, folder, phone, keys. What was that? Beep! Beep! Beep! Printer problems. No paper. Ok. I can handle that. I looked at the time. I was really trying to be on time today.

Finally, the pages were printed. I opened the basement door to call to my husband to tell him I was leaving. He called back that he had turned my car around and it was ready to go. How nice. It had been parked in an unusual place that day because of what was going on in the basement. As I pulled out of the driveway, I checked the time. I really don’t like being late.

I hurriedly zipped around the curves on the main road and was making up for lost time when I realized I had not prayed for this meeting before I left home. As I said, “Dear Heavenly Father” I noticed the speed limit sign. Then I glanced at my speed. I can not pray and speed at the same time. God convicted me of that a long time ago. Why did God give me such a lead foot? I began to slow my pace. It took a while but I got my speed back to the speed limit and pressed cruise control. Ah! Now I can pray. “Please forgive me once again for speeding. Thank you for your loving, merciful forgiveness.”

Oooops, There was another speed limit sign. 35 miles per hour. I have trouble driving 35 miles per hour on this road. I know all of the curves and could drive it with my eyes closed. Then the speed dropped to 30 miles per hour. Where did that sign come from? 30 miles per hour? You have got to be kidding me! There was no way I could do that. The cars were already backing up behind me. Nobody drives 30 miles per hour on this road. But I need to pray.

I was almost to the church by now. As I stepped out of my car and grabbed my notes, I thanked God for a safe drive to the church. I have frequently been told that the angels jump off when you go over the speed limit. I cannot find a biblical reference for that but a pastor told me that so it has to be true. As I hurried into the church, I asked God to remind me to pray before I left home the next time.

James 4:17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” [1 John 1:9]

Romans 3:23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.