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Archive for the ‘god’ Category

The Cross

 

 

We sometimes complain about the cross we bear but often don’t realize it is preparing us for the dip in the road that God can see and we  can’t. 
 

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My husband Darrell and his sister Paula (visiting from California) took us on a trip down memory lane to places they lived and played when they were elementary children. It was a serendipitous day; perfect weather, fun with family and a few surprises!

Oops, Lydia, did you want to go too?? j/k!

Darrell and Lydia standing on the side of the last house Darrell’s grandparents lived in.

Surprise #1

This is the plot where Darrell’s grandparents are buried. But where are the headstones??

Pushing back the bushes…Surprise!

Darrell and I actually planted two small shrubs back in 1979 after PawPaw Griggs passed away. They were shorter than the headstone at that time. We remember picking out something that would grow on its own that would need no maintaining. No kidding!!

More cemetery “fun!”:

Darrell, Staci and Shelby chewing on sassafras growing wild in the cemetery.

We don’t know this person- but I think it’s worth remembering someone who lived to be 100 years old!

Lydia was excited to pick flowers and sassafras too!

This is something you don’t see in a cemetery everyday!

In honor of a famous Lithonia resident, we drove down “Brenda Lee Lane.”

Next we went to Rock Chapel Elementary school where Darrell and his sisters attended in the 1960s. Darrell was really excited to see the quince tree that marked “home plate” in the school yard was still standing! Here he is cutting a piece for Shelby and Staci to taste.

Shelby loved it (not!) If you’ve never tasted a quince, be careful- it will make your mouth pucker!

Lydia loved the quinces. Watch her playing with them:

My camera did not do this tree at the school justice- but I think you can get the idea. The leaves were gold, green, brown and shades of red- all on one tree. It was beautiful!

Next, we arrived at the “old homestead.” This was such a great place for children to be raised. Outdoor fun, plenty of space to play, the woods to stimulate their imaginations; horses, tractors, gardens and fun. Darrell and Paula were so excited to see their childhood home.

Here is where serendipity (actually the blessing and favor of God) comes in. The neighbors next door (new since Darrell’s family lived there) were on their front porch. They own the old house as well and allowed us to go inside, roam the yard and even tromp around in the woods to find special places they remembered playing as children. Even as I am typing this, the looks on Darrell’s and Paula’s faces bring tears to my eyes. It was really a time of fun and adventure- but also some nurture and healing as well. We couldn’t help but think about their mother who passed away exactly a year ago this season. You see, God is intimately concerned with the details of our lives (my blog title, remember?) If we will allow Him access to our hearts, our thoughts, our attention- He desires to bless us and give us a full supply in our lives. Even in cemeteries, in school yards and at old country homes.

Look at Darrell and Paula’s faces as they look at the interior of their old home:

Here they are at an old well (now a little collapsed and overgrown) they used to play at when they were kids:

Surprise #2

The current owner found us in the woods and wanted to tell us a few stories he knew about the property. It sounded to all of us like his grandfather bought the land and house from Darrell’s dad. But the biggest surprise was that the property had been sold to developers- and this was the last day he and his family would be living there. The houses and woods are being torn down to put in residential development. The next time we might ever go back out there- this will all be gone. God knew exactly which day we needed to go to Lithonia in order to bless Darrell and Paula (and all of us.) God’s direction in even just this fun little outing did not escape our notice.

Surprise #3

Paula has been a lifetime collector of Coca-Cola memorabilia. Her kitchen is decorated with fun Coca-Cola collectibles. In casual conversation, the current owner said to her that he had a tub of Coke bottles he had saved for 30 years, but wasn’t taking with him when they left the house today. Would she be interested in them? Yeah! I guess so!

We had a wonderful time visiting, but it was getting a little late and we were all starting to mention it was time to get going. Atlanta traffic, you know. Suddenly I realized it was about 4:15 p.m. and we were in Lithonia on our way to Roswell, then Woodstock on the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving! The worst traffic day of the year. And we were hungry and still had to do our Thanksgiving grocery shopping!! I was not too excited about what was ahead of us.

Surprise #4

We did not hit one bit of traffic. Just in case you don’t believe me, let me say it one more time. WE DID NOT HIT ONE BIT OF TRAFFIC. I honestly think we were in Roswell, eating supper 30 minutes later. We couldn’t even explain it. An expressway sign I zoomed under at 70 mph warned, “Expect Severe Delays from Noon to 7 P.M.” Amanda and I said we felt like we had been in a “miracle bubble” all day- and this quick trip through traffic proved it!

God is certainly in the details!

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101!

OK- I think this is just right to celebrate over 100 posts!

 

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I think many of you may not be acquainted with Jamie Buckingham. But he is a spiritual giant in my life- although I never even had an opportunity to meet him. 

Jamie wrote one of my all time favorite books, Run, Baby, Run; the true story of Nicky Cruz, gang-leader, drug dealer and all around rough guy. As I’m sitting here writing this, I can think of one scene that repelled and scared me as a 13 year old girl reading about life on the streets in NYC. But I loved it! The book was a testimony to the life-changing power of God as well as to the ministry of David Wilkerson who led Nicky to the Lord. In my teen years, I was really excited to get a chance to see both Nicky Cruz and David Wilkerson speak in person.

After reading Run, Baby Run, I always admired Jamie Buckingham. Years later, I was reintroduced to him through his “Last Word” column in Charisma magazine. It was literally the last article on the inside back cover of Charisma magazine each month- and as soon as I took the magazine out of the mailbox, I would turn to Jamie’s column. His writing was always full of encouragement, insight, warmth and challenge. I couldn’t wait to see what he had to say each month.

Later, I was saddened when he began to write about his life-threatening health problems, then encouraged when God touched him and stayed the inevitable during a miraculous period of healing. Finally, Jamie put down his pen for the last time in 1992 as he stepped into eternity with Jesus.

Well, the reason I am writing about Jamie Buckingham today is because of “The Box” again. I’m still sorting through the last bit of scraps of paper, notes and memorabilia I tucked into those files so long ago. In my handwriting on a scrap piece of paper I had written a short quote that penetrated my heart one day many years ago:

It was the beginning of a love affair with the Bible that lasted until the day he laid the written Word aside and entered the Writer’s study.  Jamie Buckingham, about the death of his father

Once again, Jamie encouraged and inspired me. In re-reading Jamie’s words written long ago about the passing of his father, I was reminded of the intimacy with the Father that is available to me. I see why I saved Jamie’s words- and what a blessing to come across them again this week!

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I was half paying attention to The Oprah Show while I was putting on my makeup the other day. Suddenly, I picked up a little of the conversation and began to pay closer attention. Oprah was interviewing Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the NY Times bestseller, Eat, Pray, Love. Here is part of what I heard:

Liz began her journey with prayer. “I had no experience. But I just said to God, ‘I need your help. I don’t know what to do. Please tell me what to do.’ And the decision I was struggling with was, Do I stay in this marriage? Do I leave this marriage?”To help find the answer, Liz began keeping a journal where she would ask herself deeper questions as if she were her own friend. “I was going to write myself everything I’ve always wanted somebody to say to me when I’m in my deepest despair,” she says.“I would write ‘I am in so much trouble. I need you.’ And there it would be—I would write back, I am here. What do you need? You know. Tell me. I love you. What do you need?

Liz says she does not know where the voice came from but says, “I know that it came through me but it was not entirely me. As long as you believe on it and lean on it and listen to it, I’m not sure that it does matter. It’s just there when you need it.”

I don’t know what to say. The longer I listened, the more “yuck” I began to feel. The journey on which Liz found herself was to find answers to her dilemma. And she was correct in turning to God who does hold the answers we all need. She began by looking in the right direction- to God in prayer. But somehow, Liz’s journey turned to what practically every Oprah guest turns to, a little “god” named me. Rather than continuing to seek God, suddenly Liz was turning to herself.

Look back at the answers Liz heard (in italics above.) That was God’s voice speaking to her. God, who is powerful enough to make the universe, yet intimate enough to whisper right into Liz’s heart- and she missed it!! She thought it was herself. And Oprah is sitting right next to her on that couch applauding.

I only have one word: “Yuck.”


 

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Even at WalMart!

I will answer to either my real name, Cindy; or to my bird name, Hummingbird, which is my camp name. I’ve been Hummingbird for over 20 years- so it seems like my real name.

Well, today God spoke to me in the WalMart parking lot. And He called me Hummingbird. See??

CIMG1077

I like it!

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Saturday morning

I’m sitting at the computer in my typical after camp stupor- tired and dirty- but oh so glad to be home! We got home last night, but I just got my car unpacked. And now I’m as hot and sweaty as if I were still at camp! Even worse though, now I’ve got mountains of clothes, sleeping bags, tennis shoes, jackets and bedding to wash. Not to mention tons of office supplies, personal items, lost and found doo-dads and stuff to find a place for. But…the satistfaction of a wonderful week of camp once again accomplished makes it all worthwhile. Even though I’ve been in camping for a long, long time, it still amazes me how much ministry and growth can happen in just one week.  Here are just a couple of items that are running through my mind as I’m trying to muster the energy to get in the shower and find my toothbrush: 

The canoe trip with 9 middle school boys, my son Jason and me; Jason is so good, kind and patient with the boys and with me- I’m not anywhere near as strong as he is and since we share a canoe- he does 75% of the work, while I do 25%…

The birds singing in the morning during Morning Watch; Are they singing praises to the Lord?

70 campers and staff spread out over the games field with Bibles and devotion books; spending a few quiet moments with the Lord- that’s when I can really hear the birds and wonder at the beauty of God’s creation all around me…

Yummy camp food! Seems like an oxymoron unless you know the cooks: my husband and my sister-in-law who both love cooking and are good with kids…

Our camp staff 4th of  July parade;  we were the most rag-tag, creative, funny crew of patriotic costumed people I have ever seen. I laughed until my stomach hurt!

The faces of the kids as the staff came down the “parade route”- it was like we were different people of whom they were suddenly shy. Yet they were excited to wave at us and cheer. It was sort of a serendipitous moment that I didn’t quite expect…

The last night: groups of campers, in small circles with their counselors, praying for one another, some tears-but joy for what we had experienced in God’s presence and his “outdoor classroom” all week…

Oh well, there’s so much more- but my shower (and the washer and dryer) beckon me!

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