November 29, 2010

How We Spent Thanksgiving 2010


This year We spent Thanksgiving away from our home in a hotel with a view of trees dressed in shades of autumn regalia, and a waterfront park, and joined family and friends for a time of celebration and festivity.
My sister Molly and I captured these photos which demonstrated that much time was spent in planning, decorating the home,
preparing dining arrangements, which all contributed to a time of laughter, fun and fellowship.

After two days, we started our long drive back home. Approximately 100 miles later, this rest stop warmly invited us to take a much needed break. It was a welcomed sight.



The day is over, and the memories will linger in our hearts but, thanksgiving to our God for all that He has done, and continues to do, will never never end!
"O Lord my  God, I will give you thanks forever" ~ Psalms 30:12 (NLT)
Photos: Night view from the Hotel, Hallway Decorations, Dining Arrangements, Rest Stop, Weeping Willow in Sunset Regalia.

November 22, 2010

Blue Moon


The full moon this month was the center of much discussion. As I captured several phases with these photos, it was easy to see why ... the beauty was astounding! I was also reminded of the astounding beauty of the  words of the Psalmist David, and trust that the photos and his words will mean as much to you as they did to me:
 I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous, your handmade sky-jewelry, moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, why do you bother with me?  Why do you take a second look my way?”1

Psalms 8:3-4 (MSG)
italics ~ mine

November 14, 2010

My Birthday


This week, I celebrated my birthday anniversary. Family members and friends showered me with many kind words, warm wishes, cards, gifts, and telephone calls.
I was also showered with kind words, warm wishes and precious promises from heaven:
“even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you1 … my thoughts of you outnumber the grains of sand2 … and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.3
I felt special to be surrounded by such a priceless display of thoughtfulness and love.
Heavenly Father, I am grateful for family and friends that care, and I am grateful to You for Your gift of life.
                        Amen!
1. Isaiah 46:4; 2. Psalms 139:18; 3. Matthew 28:20
Photo: Firehorn Bloom

October 31, 2010

Sunset Progressions 1

The only way I can verbally describe the splash of splendor seen
in
these pre-sunset and sunset progression
photos taken this past week, is to echo the words
of the Psalmist David who said: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge … their voice goes out into all the earth,

their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens, He has pitched a tent for the sun1
1. Psalms 19:1-2/4
Photos: Virginia Beach & Norfolk, Va.

October 24, 2010

Autumn


These leaves:
 and blooms:






announce the change of season, even as the Holy Scriptures continue to announce that the power1, the strength2, the peace3, the forgiveness4, the hope5, and the love6 of God are changeless!
1.Matthew 28:18; 2. Psalm 24:8; 3. Isaiah 9:6;
4. Isaiah 43:25; 5. Psalms 39:7; 6. Jeremiah 31:3
Photos: Burning Bush; Purple Plum; October Glory; Autumn Carnival Azalea; Salvia Leucantha, Cassia Alata (Candle Bush)

October 11, 2010

Weekend Encounter


My mother and I have just returned from a Women’s Encounter Weekend with a friend's Church, where we were encouraged to “come with an open heart, believing God for a life-changing encounter. Leave the world behind and come on the journey ~ He is waiting to meet you. ” We did that, and our lives have been changed. 
The Encounter was held in a quiet location surrounded by a beautifully landscaped countryside:
At night this light helped brighten our pathway:
 Signs of preparation for Winter: 
He became our friend:
This bonfire represents burning "the past and looking forward to what lies ahead": ~ Phiippians 3:13
 We can truly say, "We have seen God face to face, and our lives are preserved." ~ Jacob ~Genesis 32:30 (KJV), Italics - mine
Thank you Heavenly Father,
Amen!
Photos: Spring Grove, Va.

October 4, 2010

Changes


As summer made its exit, and we welcomed the season of autumn, this flock of Seagulls and Cormorants all seemed to join in the glad refrain:
“Through all the changing scenes of life,
In trouble and in joy,
The praises of my God shall still ~
My heart and tongue employ.1”
Father, in every changing scene or season of my life, many welcomed and some unwelcome, may my heart and my eyes always be fixed on your changeless power,
In Jesus name,
Amen.
1. Nahum Tate, Nicholas Brady
Video Mt. Trashmore Park, Virginia Beach, Va.

September 12, 2010

God Promises To Forgive


Recently my favorite Miss Universe contest finalist was asked the question “what was the one big mistake that you did in your life, and what did you do to make it right?” If I had been asked that same question, I would have had to request a box of Kleenex tissues, a sheet of paper and extra time to answer. Of course, all of that would have disqualified me. My only hope would be if they had allowed me to answer the second part of the question.Yes, it was not easy, but I have made it right by asking forgiveness from my Heavenly Father, and He has granted me total pardon. What about you? Have you made any mistakes in your life? What did you do to make it right?
Forgiveness is extended to all ~ “come now let us reason together says the Lord though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool1 and I will hurl them (our sins) into the depths of the sea2.”
I think that qualifies as the winning answer!
1. Isaiah 1:18; 2. Micah 7:19b
Photo: Sarah Constant Beach, Norfolk, Va.
No-More-A-Secret 

September 3, 2010

Upgrade?



Much to the delight of the younger members of my family, I finally gave in, renewed my cell phone contract, and upgraded to a new cell phone. Since the last upgrade in 2006, they had constantly reminded me that technology was moving, and I should move with it. My reasoning was, if you were able to hear me when I called you, and I was able to hear you, why was an upgrade necessary?
In the midst of technological and multi-media changes, I am grateful that one thing never changes, never expires, or never needs upgrading, the faithfulness of my Heavenly Father.
Listen to excerpts from the original contract ~ Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever1/I am the Lord and I do not change.2
I am enjoying the features of my new telephone … lightweight …
compact … camera … picture texting … and the list goes on.
What about my Heavenly contract? No plans for change, never, no never!
1. Hebrews 13:8; 2; Malachi 3:6

Photo – old phone on right, new phone on leflt

July 24, 2010

Pathways


 Recently as I took an evening walk through one of my favorite spots ~ The
Norfolk Botanical Garden, the beauty of the Crepe Myrtles draping this pathway, quietly invited a diverted turn. Without hesitation, I stepped on to
the delightful path, joined by a bright orange Monarch butterfly, and the music on my MP3, All Creation Worships You, sung by Tony Melendez. Memories were evoked … of paths that I have walked … paths that I would rather not remember, nor share. Then, I thought of the paths that I now walk that are creating memories … beautiful memories that I will be grateful to remember, to compare, and to share.

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This
is the way; walk in it1 and I will guide you with my eye.2
1. Isaiah 30:21; 2. Psalm 32 8b(NIV)  

June 26, 2010

Changed Thru The Word!



The events of the week were tiring … tests … x-rays … scans. Then the words of Dr. Walters, though soft and concerned, echoed in my ears “due to the size of the tumor, it’s most likely malignant.” The glorious buzz of the eve of Summer June 1989 became an immediate whisper, except for the loud pounding of my racing heart. The past, the present, eternity, became a mirage of frantic thoughts.
I deliberately chose the long route home, and in between tears, prayed. The glowing turquoise waters, the brilliant sunshine, and the chattering seagulls darting lazily across the snow white sand calmed me.
I wanted a second opinion. More tests, x-rays, scans ~ a few days later ~ my fears and Dr, Walters' words were confirmed … cancer ... ovarian cancer!
According to Prescription for Nutritional Healing, “The American Cancer Society estimates that there are 170,000 or more deaths from cancer in the United States each year that could have been prevented.”  I was determined not to increase that statistic by one.
After a long healing process which included 6 months of chemotherapy, optimum medical care, excellent nutritional counseling, healthy lifestyle changes, the prayers, support and love of friends and family members, today, I celebrate the anniversary of living cancer free for 21 years. Cancer shaped the outlook of my past, my present and my future. I overcame the fear of death that instantly threatened my world. Most of all, I am thankful for the Words of Matthew “and He (Jesus) healed all that were sick; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses.”1 These words were and still are a reminder that sickness is real, and life is precious. I appreciate and am grateful for God's second time around gift of life, never taking it for granted, living each moment with purpose, privilege, and precision.
Thanks to my God and to all who were and continue to be there for me! 
                 In Jesus name,
                         Amen.
 1. Matthew 8:16-17
Photos: Hydrangea Macrophylla - Norfolk Botanical Garden

June 19, 2010

A Tribute to My Dad


A Tribute to My Dad

One who used words wisely
Whose face reflected strength
Strength
    wrapped in love
    love that held a tiny baby
    while singing lullaby and goodnight

Love
 that held a shaking hand
 fearing the first day of school

Love
  that supported a tiny body
  teaching it how to swim above deeper waters

Love
  that listened as tiny hands
  banged chopsticks on a Baldwin piano

Love
  that proudly presented his now young lady
  to a waiting would be son-in-law

Maybe it was that strength that hid the pain
Brewing beneath your breast
We should have shared that pain
The pain that took you away
    Earth has lost you
    It cries
    Heaven has gained you
    It rejoices
    still I cry
    I miss you!

© June 2003

Happy Fathers Day

--> -->
Fathers are to teach, love, inspire and lead. In return, they are to be loved, respected, and honored. Much can be said and debated about the absence of fathers in this generation. For whatever reason they may be absent, there is a Father who is ready and willing to be present, to take full responsibility of fathering in our lives, and promises to be “a Father to the fatherless.”1 I think that's good news. To the earthly fathers who are present, as we celebrate you, will you too be a father to someone who is fatherless? We appreciate you!
 1. Psalms 68:5

May 23, 2010

Mr. Rabbit


A 15 minute wait to resolve a customer service issue … a 45 minute maneuver through the light-rail construction traffic … a half mile tunnel backup. By the time I pulled into my niece Lorna's driveway, I was grasping to collect fragments of my distracted peace. Then, I spotted him. This wild rabbit, refusing to be disturbed by the whirring of the neighbor’s lawn mower, the pickup from the mailbox next door, or the mockingbird sitting on the nearby satellite receiver blasting his rendition of sunset sonata. He then sat undisturbed for my 20 minute photo taking session. After, I was composed. Frustration had disappeared. Thank you Mr. Rabbit ... thank you!
“Father, 'when my heart is overwhelmed and fainting; please lead me to the rock that is higher than I'.”1
1. Psalm 61:2 (AMP)

May 15, 2010

Strength & Power


Recently, I observed this Bald Eagle,
as it sat at 90 ft, guarding the nearby nest of its young eaglets. I was immediately reminded of another favorite promise from the Holy Scriptures:
“He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might, He increases strength ... but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”1
The eagle … a symbol of strength and power. My heavenly Father ... the giver of strength and power!
1. Isaiah 40:29,31 (NKJV)

Photos – Norfolk Botanical Garden April 29, 2010

May 8, 2010

Happy Mothers Day


                            A Mother   ~
                    Motivates
                                is Optimistic
                                   Teaches
                                      Hugs often
                         Encourages
                Radiates love!
     “Her strength and dignity clothe her with beauty …
      A heart of compassion she turns to the needy …
     She teaches her children true lessons of kindness;
     And shares with them wisdom the world can’t destroy.”1

          Happy Mother’s Day
1. Elizabeth de Gravelles -She Will Be Called Blessed

May 1, 2010

Unlimited



His ~
   greatness 1
     power 2
       wisdom 3
          provision 4
             mercy 5
                forgiveness 6
   protection 7
     healing 8
       peace 9
         love 10
           is
              unlimited!

References
1. Psalm 145:3; 2. Matthew 6:13; 3. Ephesians 3:10
4. Philippians 4:19; 5. Psalm 103:17; 6. Hebrews 8:12
7. Luke 10:19; 8. Psalm 103:3; 9. Ezekiel 37:26
10. Jeremiah 31:3

April 24, 2010

The Greatest Change

-->
            
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.1
We too like the butterfly can experience beauty in our lives in spite of the changes we have been or are going through:
-->
        mourning to joy 2
          darkness to marvelous light 3
              ashes to beauty 4
                   corruptible to incorruptible 5
             mortal to immortal 6
                weeping to joy 7
    eternal death to eternal life 8
      
1. Maya Angelou; 2. Jeremiah 31:13; 3. 1 Peter 2:9
4.Isaiah 61:3; 5. 1 Corinthians 15:53; 6. Ibid
7. Psalm 30:5; 8. John 3:16

April 18, 2010

Special



I enjoy receiving an unexpected telephone call, a card or note in the mail, an email or text message, from friends or family members, telling me that they are thinking about me. Just this week, a lovely lady from my church sent me a text message saying: “listening 2 Joyful … Joyful … thought of u! Blessings.”  That song, I had recently performed  by flute, at the memorial service of a mutual friend of ours.
Just knowing that I had been thought about, warmed my heart and made me feel special.



The Psalmist David declares “how precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!”1  It means that I am being thought about by my Heavenly Father much more times than I can number the sand.
Now, that really warms my heart and makes me feel very special!
1. Psalms 139:17-18a (NLT)

April 3, 2010

The Tomb Is Empty



             The Tomb Is Empty!

 When they entered the tomb, they did not find the body
of the Lord Jesus. Why do you seek the living One among the dead?1
“I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.”2

                    Happy Resurrection!
1. Luke 24:5-6 (NAS); 2. Revelation 1:17-18 (NAS)

March 20, 2010

Spring


Colorful blossoms ... star magnolia ~ redbud ~ blossoming cherry!

Long warm days ... brisk walks in the park!

Melodious songbirds ... red breasted robins  ~  yellow warblers!
Smiling faces = Spring =
         Another demonstration ~
                Of God's magnificent creation!


"Spring flowers are in blossom all over. The whole world’s a choir~and singing. Spring warblers are filling the forest with sweet arpeggios."
Song of Solomon 2:12 (MSG)

Photo: Flowering Cherry ~ Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Va.