NCN 2017–Day 27

When I was a child, my cousins and I would always go for a walk after our Thanksgiving feast. We’d kick through crunchy leaves on the ground and chatter about everything from what was going on at our schools to what we wanted to be when we got older. Those were happy times and my walk after this year’s feasting with friends reminded me of that, so I thought I’d share a few of the sights with you to start your week. Remember, God could have made everything in black and white…and I’m so glad He didn’t! Only a few more days left in this year’s NO COMPLAIN NOVEMBER! You can do it!!!

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“The smell of burning firewood and the molding of organic, earthy substances reminded her of jumping wildly into the enormous leaf piles of autumns past and she suddenly wished that it was appropriate for someone her age to do such a thing.”
― Abby SlovinLetters In Cardboard Boxes

 

OH, don’t let something silly like age stop you! Go have some fun today! Grace and Peace!

*all photos by Becky Childs

 

 

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One object, two lessons…

Leaves

My husband and I traded trucks yesterday. His heater wasn’t working and he left early enough to need heat.

The temperature had risen quite a bit before it was time for me to leave the house. The sun was shining and as I walked toward his truck, I noticed that it was completely covered in beautiful golden maple leaves. They looked so pretty against the navy blue paint with the sun shining down on them that I took a moment to marvel at the beauty of what God does just for the fun of it sometimes.

I drove carefully down my drive and began to pick up speed once I entered the highway. That’s when I noticed something else: I was leaving a trail of gold behind me. There were plenty of leaves to shed and share, and as I sped along the Georgia highway on my way to Bible study (because I was just a few minutes late!–all that admiring of God’s handiwork, you know!–NOT! I was running late before I stopped to do that! Honesty is always the best policy!), I was reminded of these verses from Isaiah:


“Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” Isaiah 58:8

and

 “…and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim…and they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;the whole earth is full of his glory. ” Isaiah 6:1b-3

Right there in the everyday task of riding down the road, God showed up and was just as beautiful as you’d ever expect Him to be.

Lesson 1—Look for God everywhere. He’s already there, but sometimes He likes for us to seek Him out on purpose…especially in the little things…and, by the way, it doesn’t hurt to leave a trail of beauty behind you as you go through life. It’s a choice. Make the right one.

 

After Bible study and lunch at the house, I took the truck in to have the repairman fix the heater. It wasn’t very long before he stuck his head back in the waiting room door to inform me that at least part of the problem was that “there’s about a 55 gallon drum full of leaves clogging your filter, ma’am!”

Leaves, again. This time quite a bit less glorious and quite a bit more problematic and costly.

Oh, God was still there and He was just as beautiful as He’s ever been, but the problem was due to neglect on our part. We’d bought the truck used and it had been garaged the whole time we’ve owned it up until about a year ago, so I know that all of that didn’t really happen on our watch, but the result was still the same.

It got me to thinking about all the other beautiful gifts that God shares with us and how we can get so busy that we fail to take proper care of them or use them for the benefit of others. Marriages, friendships, families…relationships are meant to bring us joy and comfort, but when we take them for granted and neglect to build or maintain them properly, they become problematic and costly, as well.

The same can be said of finances, house maintenance and septic systems. (grin)

Lesson 2—Stewardship is critical. Keep a watch on the blessings in your life. Even beautiful things can decline into decay and cause stress when they aren’t properly maintained. God is still there, even then, but the work of maintenance is meant to be just as much a blessing as the object or relationship. Be intentional in noticing, appreciating, and maintaining your blessings!

(I don’t have a Scripture reference that just pops into mind to back that one up, it’s just something I know to be true…and I’m sharing it for free, so I guess you’re free to do with it what you will! Ha.)

Grace & Peace!

Overlap

FYI:  The thermometer on the back porch said it was 32 degrees Fahrenheit here this morning. (For me, that’s winter! lol) A stroll through the yard, however, reveals that summer is determined to hang on a bit longer here in Mississippi despite what the dropping digits say…

There are fresh blooms on the hot pink petunias and red geraniums that reside on the upper deck.  A volunteer vinca joined the geranium late in the September heat and they’re both still looking pretty perky against the browns and golds of fallen leaves out in the November drab.

daffodils, mums and fallen leaves

A look down the row of potted Japanese maples reveals brightly colored mums…and a few rogue daffodils that might be just a touch out of  season…for now.

My favorite, however, must be the forsythia out by the mailbox.  Clothed in colors fit for fall, she’s already prepping for spring…I don’t want to rush it or wish my life away, but this one inspires me and already I dream of bright yellow blooms…

This one will get me through the winter.  What’s your plan?

For your weekend…

“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” — Winston Churchill
“We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed–always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body…Therefore we do not lose heart.  Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.  For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  2 Corinthians 4:9-10, 16-18.
Both of the quotes written above came as a welcome and encouraging word both to and from people who were having a difficult time.  Praying for all of us:  a weekend of renewed strength and determination for fighting the good fight!  See you back here on Monday!
Grace & Peace!
*photo by Mike Childs

For your weekend…

This has been a week full of love…from the heart-shaped rock I found in a single beam of sunlight on my front porch (personally, I think it was a gift from God) to the fabulous surprise of flowers from a far-away cousin “just because” (personally, I think they–both the cousin and the flowers–are a gift from God).  I’m beginning to sense a theme–did you pick up on it, too?  (smile)

To go along with the theme, I’m sending you a reminder of what real love looks like.  Hint:  it isn’t anything like what we normally see on TV or in the movies these days.  It looks a whole lot more old fashioned in real life.  Since we can gloss over things that we’re really familiar with, I’m sharing this reminder from I Corinthians 13: 4-8a as interpreted in The Message by Eugene Peterson.  It is my prayer that you will take time to read this and look for ways to incorporate these words into your world this weekend.

“Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Love doesn’t strut,

Doesn’t have a swelled head,

Doesn’t force itself on others,

Isn’t always “me first,”

Doesn’t fly off the handle,

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn’t revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies.”

Grace and Peace!  See you back here on Monday!

*photos taken by Becky Childs

Seasonal Change and Faithfulness

Fall is on the way!  It may not look like it right now—the temperature on my truck gauge said “97 degrees” when I left work the other day!  It didn’t feel like it the other morning as I left home in the fog and asked God to send His Holy Spirit to cover me just like the fog that hugged the tree tops and softened my view in every direction, either, but that doesn’t change anything.  Even when it doesn’t feel like it, I know that Fall is on the way and it makes me smile.

I love the changing of seasons.  It reminds me of my unchanging God.  That might sound strange to some, perhaps, but Genesis 9:22 (NKJV), says, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease.” Because He is faithful throughout every day, every season and temperature—as long as the earth remains, God will be there, too.

A couple of weeks ago I stopped by the hospital at lunch to see a young man who is over 90 years old.  I say that he’s a “young man” because he keeps a young spirit.  While I was there, he received a phone call and another visitor.  On the way out, I ran into 2 more visitors for him.  Further down the hall, I saw his sweet wife being brought in by wheelchair for her visit with her ‘sweetheart’ of 68 years.  Yes, you read that right.  They were celebrating their 68th wedding anniversary that day and “Miss Madge” was arriving—and holding a cake!–to celebrate the occasion.

I can’t tell you how much that did for my day.  Such faithfulness!  Such life in these dear ones!  Their influence is amazing and yet, it is quiet.  Even in this twilight of life, they continue to reach for each other and their God and they bring us all closer to Him just by being with them.  Their consistent walk is a blessing—for years they have held hands at 1 PM every afternoon and prayed for an hour.  Yes!  An hour—how many days would it take for some of us to reach that hour on our own? 

Yes, the seasons are changing.  Fall is on the way, God is still at work and I need to get busy praying.