This blog is where I can pour out my heart with my longing for God.

Archive for August, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things!

Remember in the movie “The Sound of Music” when the Von Trapp children were frightened by the storm and Fraulein Maria had them think of their favorite things? Before long, those children were singing and dancing around the room with no regard for the vicious storm.

“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. . .Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. . .When the dog bites, When the bee stings, When I’m feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things, And then I don’t feel so bad!”

It works, you know. When you’re feeling blue and discouraged, take the time to think on the blessings of God in your life. I can promise you that it will make a difference. Will your problems disintegrate? Will your sick body suddenly feel well? Perhaps not, but either way, you will feel better in your spirit man. And a positive change in your attitude and spirit can absolutely impact your health and troubles for the better.

After nearly a month of various health issues in my family, I was beginning to feel a bit down on this Friday night. I was alone–the kids having gone to spend the weekend with their daddy and the hubster asleep. My temperature had begun to creep up a bit after being lower for the first time in 11 days. I could feel the looming question in the atmosphere: Will I be able to go on our long-awaited vacation in a few days? And if I did, would I feel well enough to enjoy it?

I went outside (a good tip for anyone feeling down–get out of that house and into His lovely creation!) and lay back in my beach chair on the deck. I lifted my eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help. I could sense His presence everywhere–in the gentle stirring of the green trees above my head, in the late-day sounds of the crickets and birds, in the utter peace of the Sabbath as it dropped like a fleece blanket over us on this Friday evening.

I spoke with a dear friend who encouraged me in the Lord. As we prepared to hang up, I was getting ready to ask her to pray over me. Before I could even ask, she began to pray for me with beautiful anointing and love. I began to weep with the joy of the blessings He has absolutely loaded onto me, and I couldn’t stop crying even after we hung up.

Even through the trials of this past month, and indeed this past week especially, the knowledge of His blessings has overwhelmed me. As the hubster drove me home from the doctor on Wednesday, I listened to my newest favorite mix CD of gospel songs and wept over how He has blessed me in my life.

You see, we can be in the midst of the storm and still praise Him. We can be going through the fire and still feel our hearts well up in gratitude for everything He has done!

As I sat on the deck after my friend’s prayer, I thought of my favorite things and I thanked God. If we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart. So our favorite things will be things that are pleasing unto Him–not dirty, ugly things that bring Him no glory.

These are a few of my favorite things. . .

1. JESUS CHRIST (YAHUSHUA)!

He is my life, my joy, my all. I cannot imagine how I would’ve made it through these last few years without Him–yea, even all of my life without Him. There is no greater treasure than Him. He is the great I AM, and I love Him with every beat of my heart.

2. My hubster

I thank God for the hubster who treats me like a queen and who would–in the words of Bon Qui Qui–CUT YOU if you messed with me–ha ha! Hey, I already messed up one marriage–a sad, tragic fact of my life to be sure–so I’m determined to never have to go through another divorce. Husbands and wives need to be thankful for one another and to serve God together, considering how we can best bless Him first and each other secondly. If a marriage is unhappy, the kids will be, too, so it would behoove us all (speaking from my experience and my failure) to be at peace in our marriage.

So I thank God for how Alan blesses my life each day–with his kindness, thoughtfulness, love, compassion, etc. I hope to be able to bless his life in every way as we draw nearer the end.

3. My children

I can barely talk about my children as my blessings without just breaking into tears. When my life was falling apart and miserable at times, my children never left me and were occasionally the reason I kept living. I have 5 babies in Heaven that I will one day see–babies I never got to hold in my arms. But I also have 5 babies on Earth, thanks be to God. He hath made me a joyful mother of children! I hope to do them good all the days of my life.

4. My parents

God has blessed me with Godly parents–something most people can’t say in this carnal world in which we live. I always saw my parents serve the Lord with peace and love. They are two of the best people on planet Earth.

I cannot thank God enough for Tom and Judy Bray. They have loved me unconditionally and never left my side, even through the darkest hours. I will never forget this, and I hope to do them nothing but good all of my remaining life.

5. My extended family and friends

I can’t begin to name everyone included in this list. What a wonderful thing to have this many friends and family members with whom I am close. My marvelous aunts, uncles and cousins have blessed me for all of my life. I will love them forever.

My friends have shown me such unconditional love and kindness through the years. My heart can never express what they have meant to me. So many of you reading this fit into this category. Thank you for blessing my life. I love you all.

6. His creation

How can we forget His beautiful creation that He has blessed us with? I don’t believe that we should worship His creation, but that we should worship the Creator. Don’t you feel closer to Him in nature? I do!

I thank God for flowers, butterflies, singing birds, delicate springtimes, vibrant summers, gorgeously-colored autumns and silvery winters! I praise Him for sunshine, moonshine, gentle rains, fluffy clouds, twinkling stars, falling snow, cool breezes, the ocean, the mountains and everything in between!

7. Material things that He gave me

I believe we aren’t supposed to love the things of this world in general, but there are many things on this Earth that we should be thankful for. He gave me a roof over my head–a pleasant little house in one of my favorite towns–Danbury. It is right beside a beautiful meadow (even my name means “from the meadow”). There is a rambling little creek in the backyard; He surely knew how I longed for a creek nearby.

I have good food to eat, heat in the winter, coolness in the summer, a good car to take me where I need to go, good clothes to wear, a way/skills to make a living should I be forced to re-enter the work force. I have most of the modern conveniences, and I have good health, thanks be to the God of my salvation!

How can I sit quietly when He has blessed my life so abundantly?!! And the root of all of these good things is Him. If we are silent, then the very rocks may cry out!

I want to encourage you that if you are down or blue or discouraged or just going through a tough time for a season, count your blessings, name them one by one, as the old hymn says! Think on your favorite things that are pleasing to God, and I guarantee your spirits will soar to the heavens, no matter how your body may feel!

Thank you for humoring me and allowing me to share with you some of my favorite things!

But more than anything, I thank God for Himself, for dying on the cross for me, for saving my soul, for filling me with His Spirit, for never leaving nor forsaking me, FOR LOVING ME!

(Click below to hear my newest favorite song entitled “More Than Anything”–an oldie but a goodie! I think you’ll LOVE IT!)

“Get Right, Church, and Let’s Go Home!”–remembering my friend Scottie. . .

Pretty Scottie

I was covered from neck to wrists to ankles in horrid, red, scaly sores. Clear skin was becoming scarce on my body, particularly on my trunk where the sores seemed to thrive. Embarrassment was my constant companion when I had to go out in public.

Finally, a diagnosis came–pityriasis rosea–a viral, itchy, scaly skin disease. Cure? None–it runs its course in about two months or less and can recur. Its trigger? Unknown–possibly a lack of sunlight.

“Great,” I said sarcastically. My dad had been diagnosed with Stage 3 Lentigo Melanoma the year before, so I had determined to avoid the sun for fear of skin cancer. Now I avoid the sun and get a disease–albeit not deadly–that can be caused by too little sun. Just great. :/

So I sighed and swallowed my pride each time I went to church and had to wear a dress. Even pantyhose couldn’t disguise my sore-stricken legs. I felt like a leper.

Here she came across the pews after church service one Wednesday night back in about 1993–my friend Scottie, a vivacious brunette with a contagious laugh that was almost like a little girl’s giggle. She gave me that look that would cut right through you–a very real look that could detect anything hidden. “What’s going on with you?” Scottie asked.

I told her my dilemma, and she patted me on the back. “Come up to the shop tomorrow,” she said. “I’m gonna put you in the tanning bed and clear those things up.” I hesitated, not sure how to tell her that at this crucial juncture in our lives, I didn’t even have money for tanning sessions.

“I’m not gonna charge you,” she seemed to read my mind. “Come up tomorrow on your lunch break.”

So the next day, I hurried just up the street from my job as an orthodontic office manager in Kernersville to Scottie’s hair salon on Main Street. She welcomed me into the suavely-decorated shop (grays and pinks maybe? It’s been a long time) with her characteristically big smile, full of pretty white teeth.

Before long, I was settled into a tanning bed for the first time in my life, praying fervently that the UV rays would zap those disgusting sores. Scottie would have me back up every few days until, within two weeks, those sores were fading rapidly. Her joy was almost as huge as mine.

“What’d I tell ya?” she giggled that melodic giggle that always made me want to laugh along with her. I was so grateful and never forgot her kindness.

That was nearly 20 years ago, but still those nasty sores try to come back every now and then. When they do, I head to the tanning bed (a rare occasion) and often think of Scottie and her big heart.

Scottie was so at home in her various barber shops throughout the years.

It came as quite a shock to me when the phone call came this past Sunday night that she had passed away. Scottie? A woman so full of life that you just knew she was going to live to at least 120? No way!

I had heard a couple of years ago that she had been diagnosed with cancer, but I had no idea it had gotten to this point. I kept up with her via Facebook, enjoying the pictures of her in seemingly good health. My problem was that I couldn’t imagine anything on this Earth getting the best of Scottie. She was a bit larger than life to me, I guess.

We both had left the church we used to attend together–me in 2003 and her in 2010–and we lived in different areas. I had seen her a time or two through those years, but as often happens when people move away–even if it’s just to another town in the same region–you lose touch.

Scottie back in the day, a few years before I met her.

Yet I thought of Scottie often, like when I’d get a haircut. During my first few years at our church back in the ’80s, I had let my hair grow out to my waist–no bangs, no layers. I was “Plain Jane” Leslie. That vibrant Scottie got hold of me at a makeup party she hosted one night and said, “Come up to the barber shop! I’m gonna cut that ole long hair off and make you look your age.”

I thought I would faint as I saw those long brown tresses hit the floor of the shop she then shared with Jesse on West Mountain Street in Kernersville. “My hair, my hair! What have I done?” I was crying inside.

But when Scottie whirled that chair around to show me the finished product in the mirror, I was pleasantly surprised. Soft layers framing my face down to my shoulders. Scottie was right! I looked like a teenager again! She was like the cat that swallowed the canary when I walked into church on Wednesday night, stunning everyone with my new do.

When spiral perms became all the rage, here came Scottie, telling me my hair–steadily growing longer again–would look great with those long ringlets of spiral curl. And guess what? She was on the money again. Oh, the time we spent together at her shop as she spent literally hours rolling up my hair in those heavy spiral curlers every few months!

Spending time with her was fun–made me feel like a little girl again, sharing secrets and giggling. When she gave birth to her daughter Tiffany, I hurried over to see if maybe childbirth had slowed down that irrepressible Scottie.

Of course not. There she was dressed in nothing but one of her husband Greg’s white shirts, positively glowing with happiness and still laughing. Her joy, like her laughter, was contagious. “They told me I might never be able to have children,” she confided in me. “But they were wrong.” And she always gave God all the glory for it.

Scottie and her beloved Tiffany!

Scottie proudly showed us her little Tiffy. “I prayed for a girl, and that’s what I got!” she declared, shooting Greg a look that dared him to disagree. Not that he would’ve–already he looked proud as a peacock when Scottie would show her many visitors a picture of him as a baby to prove how much Tiffany resembled her daddy.

We were all part of a close-knit church family–sharing birthday parties, camping trips, choir practices, youth camps, revivals, fellowship dinners. Scottie made every party more fun, bringing her infectious laughter and fun-loving personality.

She would tell me how she visited Graceland once right after Elvis purportedly died and how she thought she briefly spotted him there. Once when our pastor mentioned Elvis for some odd reason in a sermon, my family looked over at Scottie from our third-row pew on the right to her second-row pew in the middle. We teased her, mouthing the words, “Elvis is dead.” Her expressive eyes lit up with fire and she pursed her lips together defiantly, shaking her head no. Oh, the fun we had with that.

When I first heard she was battling cancer a couple of years ago, I kept saying, “I’ll go see her.” I did get her mailing address to send a card, but I never did actually lay eyes on her again. I had gone through a tough divorce that left me embarrassed as a Christian, and I let my pride keep me from showing my face around many of my old friends. My irrational fear of possibly being treated differently by those I had so loved (certainly not by Scottie and probably not by anyone at all–the enemy tells us things like this to keep us separated) kept me holed up here in Stokes County. Pride/embarrassment is no excuse; it was selfish of me.

Plus, we humans have this procrastination gene that prompts us to say, “I’ll do it real soon.”

Well, guess what? Real soon became two years, and I lost the chance. Yes, I prayed for her and I communicated through Facebook, but how I wish I could’ve seen those sparkling eyes one more time or heard that musical laugh that just tickled my insides somehow.

If you have somebody you long to see again, don’t put it off. Go now. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us.

“As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more.” Psalm 103:15-16

I’ve cried several times this week when I’ve thought of Scottie and how her days on Earth were over so soon–only 57 years old when she left us. But some of those tears have also been happy ones because of beautiful memories of her praising God at church, deep gratitude that I was able to know such a strong woman of God, joy thrilling down in my soul that Scottie isn’t gone–just in another dimension–an eternal one where she waits for us to join her in the presence of the Lord one day.

I have lost a lot of beloved people in my life. But somehow I can’t imagine any of them being quite as excited as I can imagine Scottie being when she first saw Jesus. That’s not a slam on any of those other saints of God that I so loved; it’s simply a statement about Scottie’s bubbling joy that she was never ashamed to express. Others of us–with me as chief–let pride hold us back from so much. But not Scottie. She was REAL, as real as real gets.

And I know she’s REAL happy right now–finally at home with the Savior that she so adored and was never ashamed to proclaim.

Scottie loved her family–husband Greg, daughter Tiffany, son-in-law Clayton and precious grandson Clay.

I’ve heard that Scottie requested that someone sing “Get Right, Church, and Let’s Go Home!” for the funeral. We’d all do well to listen to the message of that song and prepare ourselves to enter in. It won’t be long, and we’ll be there with Scottie, shouting along with her and the other saints in glory who have been cheering us on all along.

Scottie fought a good fight, she finished her course, and most importantly, SHE KEPT THE FAITH. Henceforth there is laid up for her a crown of righteousness in a place where there is no more cancer, no more pain, no more crying, and the Lamb will be the light. I figure Scottie’s gonna be snuggled right there next to Him.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Rev. 21:4

Tag Cloud