Let’s Google It!

We learn so much from children – at least I do!

Our granddaughter, Piper, spent the night with us a few weeks ago and, as so often happens, our conversations focused on the things she had been thinking about. So we were chatting about Galatians 5:22 and the listing of the Fruit of the Spirit. Then the discussion went to the Trinity – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. So she asked the question, “Nana, is the Holy Spirit a male or female?” I was stumped and simply replied,” I don’t think the Holy Spirit is either gender.” She quickly responded, “Let’s Google it!”

Now she has heard that phrase over and over in her young life, as most of this younger generation has. Still, I was really curious – what would Google say about the Holy Spirit? So I Googled it. There were 63,700,000 references! I found that Google really does have a lot of resources to teach us about the Holy Spirit. The number one resource, far better than Google, however, is simply Jesus Himself!

Have a blessed week,

Susan

Protection

cattle at KevinsLast week was a great week to be away from Nashville! As the ice and snow fell around our home, my husband and I were on our way to Florida for a short vacation. Every year we meet my husband’s three brothers and their wives for a weekend get together in some place warm and sunny. I so look forward to this time of catching up, sharing family news, and just growing older together.
One of his brothers recently moved to a small farm in northern Florida and we spent one night with them at their new home. As I went out for a run in the morning, a small herd of cattle joined me by running down the fence line next to me. I was very thankful for that barrier between us – those animals are large! Other parts of my run took me past a few horses in the field and a roost of chickens next to the barn. It was quite the rural experience for this city girl.
A few days later, we were touring the lovely small city of St. Augustine and appreciating the history of our country and the battles that were fought to protect our land. We climbed the walls of the old fort – the Castillo De San Marcos – and imagined ourselves as 18th century lookouts eyeing the ocean waters for approaching enemies.
Whether it was the fence that separated me from the cattle, or the fort that had offered protection for a fledgling country, I was reminded of the protection that God provides to each of His children. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 has a wonderful promise for us: “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” How thankful I am that my spiritual protection is in the hand of the Almighty God.
Have a great week,

Kathy

Music Across the Generations

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Last week Susan spoke of the priceless discovery recently made by her family–her grandmother’s Bible from the late 1800’s.  This treasured book was full of notes, underlinings, and prayers all written with the hand of her grandmother.

This past Christmas the Ferriss family also experienced a priceless discovery.  My mother-in-law, a college music major, is still quite the musician at 92.  As my husband and his sister were growing up, Mrs. Ferriss taught piano in her home for many years.  My nine-year old granddaughter, Mary Chase, is also studying a musical instrument, the violin.  Soooooooo, I had the bright idea that Mary Chase and her great-grandmother should play a duet for us on Christmas Eve.  There was only one problem with this idea.  No piano.

Fortunately, I remembered our son’s electric key board still in its original box from his teenage years.  But did it still work?  No cord was found, but a few new batteries, and it was as good as new (well, almost!).  Mary Chase had been practicing Christmas carols several weeks before Christmas, but Mrs. Ferriss had not.  In fact, she had never played a key board before in her life.  How thankful I was for the flexibility of this 92-year old great-grandmother!!  She was willing to give it a try, and try she did!

Amidst the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree and the warmth of a roaring fire, our family watched and listened with amazement as Miriam Ferriss and her great-granddaughter Mary Chase performed a concert together.  As the strains of Joy to the World were played, I could feel the tears weld up in my eyes; my heart about to burst.  What a beautiful picture of life as it was created to be!

 I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever; With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.  (Psalm 89:1-2)   

 One day the new heavens and the new earth will be filled with thousands upon thousands of generations playing and singing together to the glory of God. If this “foretaste” of that glorious day is any indication, we are in for some kind of party!! 🙂

Blessings,

Pam

 

 

 

 

A Bible to Treasure

 

On a recent trip to visit my sister she shared a treasure that brought tears to my eyes; she shared our grandmother’s Bible from the late 1800s. I hadn’t known that this Bible even existed, so I was eager to open the pages. As I opened the first few pages there before me was a family tree – going back to 1885 when my grandparents married, then listing the birthdates of each of their nine children, then the dates of the children’s marriages and their spouse names.

As I started turning the pages of the scriptures, underlined verses with dates written beside them jumped out at me. My grandmother, who taught me how to sew when I was only five years old, and taught me how to cut French fries, and allowed me to cook beside her, was a praying, Bible believing grandmother! What an incredible legacy!

What I’m pondering is what my great-great grandchildren might find 130 years from now – what is the legacy for them? I know my grandchildren are learning about cooking, we do that quite often. But what of the spiritual legacy I so desire for them to experience? Will they be able to look at an old Bible and see a legacy of praying and walking in faith? I pray so!

Blessings.
Susan

Grandmother’s Hands

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about hands lately. It seems like an odd topic, doesn’t it? Truly, they are pretty remarkable pieces of creation and the Bible refers to hands in so many ways.
In the Old Testament, when Moses’ hands were lifted up the Israelites kept winning the battle against the Amalekites. Isaac blessed his sons, Esau and Jacob, by laying hands on them. In 1Kings, Solomon spread his hands and lifted them toward the heavens as the temple was dedicated. In Psalm 134 David implores his fellow Israelites to lift their hands in holy praise to God and in the New Testament believers are encouraged to lift their hands in prayer.
Through our hands we have the ability to communicate love and care. I remember my Grandmother’s hands. When she was visiting our home, she would come upstairs to say good night to me and my siblings. She would sit by our side and scratch our backs. We would beg her to not stop and she would patiently sit and keep scratching. It was a relatively simple gesture, yet one I so fondly remember and one that communicated love. She wasn’t a wealthy woman – she didn’t buy us many gifts, but with her hands she knit us mittens, made old-fashioned donuts, repaired torn clothes and lovingly held us.
I have decided that I also want my hands to be instruments of God’s love. I know I can do that in many ways – through a kind touch, by cooking a dinner for someone in need, by writing an encouraging note, or simply by scratching my grandchildren’s backs. And, by doing so, I hope that others can feel the marvelous love of the Lord.
Have a good week,
Kathy

A Legacy of Faith

A decision that was made this past week seems momentous to me. We agreed on a sale price for my parent’s house. The house has been empty of occupants for almost a year now; my mother passed away last December and my father two years prior to that. However, it took months of cleaning, sorting, throwing, saving, designating and giving away to go through the accumulations of a 60-year marriage. Each of my siblings and I had items that held special meaning to us. One of my brothers wanted a mirror that my mother had fashioned to the inside of an old saddle, another wanted an antique clock whose chimes rang each and every hour, and I had my heart set on some family china that we used for every holiday gathering. As my siblings and I walked through the house together, however, it no longer seemed like home. The stuff was still there, but the love that had permeated the rooms had vanquished.
As I look around at the “stuff” I’ve gathered in my own home, I realize that’s just what it is. I know my children and grandchildren might treasure some of it when I’m no longer here, but that stuff is not the legacy I want to leave. When I’m no longer living, I want my family to miss my unconditional love, my listening ear, my encouraging spirit, and my unwavering faith.
Really, I think legacy is a collection of the stories of our life. It’s a reflection of how we handled life’s challenges, how we made a difference in the lives of others, what we did with our money, how we treated friends and family, and how we lived our priorities. It’s the stories of how the Lord has used us and molded us. Hopefully, we can each “live” beyond our lifetime, by leaving a true legacy of faith.
Have a great week,
Kathy

An Antidote to Seasonal Sadness

Are there certain times of the year that are more difficult emotionally for you than other times?  There is so much I love about the season of autumn.  The backdrop of deep blue sky against the red and gold of the rolling hillsides.  The crispness in the air that anticipates roaring fires in the hearth and chili simmering on the stove.  Pumpkins, football, hot chocolate!!  What is there not to love about fall?  And yet it was in the fall of 1975 that my mother’s cancer returned.  It was on one of those glorious fall days a week before Thanksgiving that we buried her at age 50.

And so as the autumn winds begin to blow away the heat of summer, they bring with them the painful memories of loss even 39 years later.   Awareness of this experience through the years has certainly helped me understand what is taking place, and enabled me to take measures which help.   Things like physical exercise, healthy eating, and meaningful relationships have all helped asuage a heavy heart or depression.

There is also another means which has proved helpful in my life when these emotional difficulties arise.  I experienced this particular means recently when I was approached about taking a meal to a visitor to our church.  It seems this young woman, a single mom with two children, was recuperating from a recent surgery.  I signed up along with many others to take a meal on a designated day.  Following the prescribed protocol on the e-mail, I texted to get directions to her home to drop off the meal.  I drove up to the back of a small red brick house at the end of a cul de sac, and knew I must be in the right place.  A swing set, bikes, and an assortment of toys were strewn all over the driveway and backyard.   A small blond curly haired girl of about three ran to meet me.  Behind her running to keep up, but with the biggest most contagious smile, was her mother.  Out of the corner of my eye I spotted the second daughter on the swing set, an older girl of about 10.

After making our introductions, the mother introduced her girls and began telling me their stories.  Her older daughter with special needs was adopted from China, and her second adopted daughter was born 26 weeks prematurely, weighing one pound at birth.  As we continued to talk, I realized I was standing on “holy ground”.  This young woman had chosen to forgo much of what our world deems successful in order to bring these precious young girls into her home and her heart.  Most of her delightful conversation was saturated with words like “thankfulness,” “blessing,” “gratitude”.   It was such an encouragement to simply be in her presence.

As I drove away that beautiful fall afternoon I did so with a heart that was full, almost singing!  What a reminder to quit looking “in”and begin looking “up and out”.   While it is true that the seasons may sometimes bring the memories of loss and sadness, there is still much in our world that brings joy and gladness.  How are you this season?  Are you experiencing seasonal sadness?  I would encourage you to look “up and out” and see what, or maybe who, God will bring in your life.

 

Fondly,

Pam

 

Planting a Garden

I’ve been thinking about legacy frequently as I have had the opportunity to share some time with the little people in my life.

One of the things we recently did was plant a bulb garden that we are calling “Piper & Lainey’s garden.” To begin the process, we put on our gardening gloves, grabbed our supplies and headed to the yard. Piper, the oldest child, figured out a pattern for the different sized bulbs and designed the layout. I dug the holes and the girls placed the bulbs into the dirt in a variety of ways – sideways, upside down, and right side up – and we eventually finished the planting. This was a tremendously fun way to share what has meant so much to my life, the simple gift of planting and then anticipating what might come….even if we are months away from reaping the bounty of beauty!

We, as grandparents, have a particular calling to share faithfully who God has called us to be. I just pray that all of our grandchildren will catch a glimpse of who God is in our lives. He is The One who redeems everything! Even bulbs planted upside down!

Blessings on your week.

Susan

The call to stewardship

This past week I taught about Eve in our church’s women’s Bible study. Although I felt very familiar with the story, I was surprised at all I learned while preparing to teach. Adam and Eve’s sole responsibility was to care for the Garden of Eden. They were to be stewards of God’s gifts to them. This month in our book, My Grandmother is…praying for me, we are praying that our grandchildren will become good stewards of all their possessions – physical, intellectual and spiritual.
The Garden of Eden, before sin entered the world, was a place of perfect contentment. There were no disasters, no destruction, and no pests. Each day Adam and Eve could joyfully work the soil and care for the animals while surrounded by the presence of God, who the Bible says “walked in the Garden.” But after “the fall” it took effort to care both for the land and for relationships. The results of the fall affect us, as well, because being stewards of God’s gifts continues to take hard work and intentionality. As grandparents, we need to help our grandchildren see the bigger vision and purpose of stewardship. It is a service to God, it supports our spiritual development, and it is also a blessing to those around us. As we care for our environment, tend to our spiritual growth, and build relationships filled with love and grace, God will be glorified. As Christians, we know that the Garden of Eden is a picture of the heavenly home that God has prepared for us. There will come a time again when working will only be joyful and all relationships will be secure in God’s love. Until that time, let’s commit to serving together and passing on a legacy of faithful stewardship.
Have a great week,
Kathy

Parents, Pray like King David

This morning our pastor’s sermon was taken from I Chronicles 29: 1-3 and 10-20.  In these passages King David is calling on God’s people to give generously to the building and furnishing of the temple of God.  Once the people overwhelmingly agreed to follow King David’s generosity in giving, David offered this beautiful prayer in praise to God (given below in part)

Blessed are You, LORD God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.  Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty;  for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;  Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and You are exalted as head over all.  Both riches and honor come from You,  and You reign over all.  In Your hand is power and might;  in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.

The pastor then went on to challenge parents to consider offering prayers like this in the presence of their children.  To let their children hear them praise and adore the Creator for who He is, and what He is doing!  Our minister acknowledged that many parents would shake their heads, and respond by saying they could in no way pray like David.  Their lives were in such a mess!  Even this very week they have sinned in a multitude of ways.  No way are they “good enough” to offer such beautiful words to such a holy God!  Their children would be able to see right through all of their words.

How I love the way our minister reminded us of King David’s very messy life, and the way God dealt graciously with him.  King David, a man after God’s own heart?  Yes!   But also an indulgent father who was guilty of lying, adultery, and murder.  So how could King David pen these beautiful words in praise to God at the end of his life?  Because of the greater King who was coming!  The Davidic King who would live the life King David (and we!) could never live, and die the death he (and we) should have died.

This is why parents (and all of us!) are able to pray just like King David.  Using our “weakness as the way” (J.I. Packer), we can come before the throne of the Creator of the Universe, and know that we have a greater king than David to hear and present our prayers before the Father.

So parents throw open your hearts and pray like King David!  Doing so will point your children toward the only One who deserves such praise and adoration, and the only One who has the power to overcome all of the messiness of this life.

Blessings for a prayerful week,

Pam