LESSONS I’M TRYING TO LEARN #1 in a series: IF WE HAVE A HEART FOR GOD


Nothing qualifies me to write this post other than the fact that I am a sinner. I do not have any theological education except for that gleaned from the pages of the bible, and various pulpits.  I realize I don’t know everything and am well aware that I lack understanding many, many things that concern the workings of the heart and soul of modern humanity with relation to God. This particular blog post is the first of a series I plan to write on lessons I’ve learned and is derived strictly from my own experiences and opinions. The subject is subjective.  So, proceed with caution. You may not agree with me. That’s your choice.  It’s ok.

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HIDDEN SIN AND THE NEED FOR CONFESSION

Nothing is more humbling than confession. I mean nothing. It borders on humiliation. I’m no expert but I know this to be true from personal experience. I am, however, an expert sinner. As I look back on my life, there are areas of sin in which I am truly ashamed. I won’t go into gory detail – that’s between God and me – but I’ve done things that would upset any mother if she heard such details about her child. The only redeeming part is that mothers are sinners too. We all are, of course. Unfortunately, escaping the desire to sin requires a strength that we, as mere humans, don’t possess. There is no human willpower greater than sin, only that given by the Divine. The catch is we have to ask for it. God gave us free will. He worked the desire to make choices into our DNA, so to speak. That part probably hurts Him but He has such innate love for us, His desire is to see us become whole in every sense of the word. And that includes our choices. It’s simple, really. One cannot consciously make horrible choices and expect to have a wonderful life. Can you identify? Geeez, I can. It’s a been there, done that, bought the t-shirt kind of thing.

Before I get into what I really want to talk about today, let me ask – why bother feeling bad about our actions? What is sin? And why is it so bad? I mean isn’t it simply normal to do the wrong thing sometimes? Well, yes. Yes it is. But when you weigh the difference between what hurts and what gives joy, it’s easy to understand. Do we want to always have a cloud of despair hanging over us, or do we want to enjoy breathing deeply of peace of mind and heart? If we have a heart for God and all things holy would we want to risk loosing them by following our own agenda for what we think brings happiness?  Could going against the word of God actually bring happiness?  That’s the definition of sin, that which goes against the law and teaching of God.  Sin clogs our proverbial arteries and keeps us from living life to the fullest. It’s like lung disease that keeps us from being able to breathe. Once it takes hold, we are forced to live with it but we can’t without coughing and spewing and gasping. It chokes the life right out of us. And that, my friends, is one reason why we bother worrying about our sins. We seek forgiveness of them because we can’t live a good life with them on board. God’s forgiveness is like a holy lavage washing away the obstructions and leaving behind clean, breathable airways. Holy forgiveness is like spiritually cleansing proverbial arteries and inserting stents to keep the life blood flowing.  Only it isn’t just a patch. It is healing.

Hidden sin. It’s a killer. It’s hard to see, hard to imagine, hard to find, hard to bear. It is just that, hidden. I’ll share a good example of that given to me not long ago. Let’s say a person decided to rob a store. He enlists the help of his good buddy to drive the getaway car. The poor buddy, suddenly excited about the worldly wealth coming his way, blindly follows the directions given him and the caper is pulled off. You know where this is going, right? Both are guilty, both have broken the commandment “Thou shall not steal”. Is one more sinful than the other? What if they both confess their sin and ask for forgiveness? Could there be hidden sin that needs confessing? There is in the fact that the first person enlisted the help of the second. He enticed his good buddy into sin. He essentially gave him a ticket on the train to ruin. Don’t think I don’t know that the second person did, in fact, accept the assignment. He did and that’s something he has to atone for. But what if the first person doesn’t confess the sin of dragging another down with him? The hidden sin becomes a thorn in his soul. It festers there and keeps him from complete healing. The first person needs to see what he has done in terms of leading another into sin. He gave the ‘ticket’ to his good buddy. It’s true the good buddy had it stamped, so to speak, and he is responsible for that, but the ticket (hidden sin) is what got him on the ride.
Now this is an extreme example, not one likely to be commonplace so lets think about something more relative. Let’s look at a scenario that is far too common – Let’s say a married man is attracted to a woman at work. She is vulnerable and desperately wants to be loved by someone, anyone. She says she draws the line at taking another woman’s husband but that doesn’t stop the man from pursuing her and trying to convince her that having an affair is a good idea. He comes onto her so strongly that finally she gives in and they have a full blown affair. They both come to regret it and seek forgiveness by confession. But let’s not forget this: her sin of adultery is strong enough to ruin lives. His sin of infidelity AND leading his co-worker into sin also has grave consequences. They both ‘bought the ticket’ but the hidden sin needs recognition and confession for a complete healing.

How many areas in our lives do we have hidden sin? Wow. Good question. And a good reason to seriously contemplate what we include in our confessions to God. Our desire, no, our need is for complete forgiveness and healing of our heart and soul.

Let me ask you this; have you seen a child learning to walk? Did you love to see him struggle to get to their feet and take their first steps only to fall to the floor and cry with a broken heart? Of course not. Well then, were you delighted when the child managed to get to his feet again and actually take those first steps with an ear-to-ear grin on his face, triumphantly clapping chubby hands and happily giggling? I like to think that this is how God feels when He sees His children get up off the floor and try again in terms of asking for healing and help to live a wonderful life in accordance with His will. The key to doing that is first carefully examining and then baring your soul to Him, hidden sins and all. Yes, I know He is all-knowing and already has seen what you are, much the same as you do with a child. But, oh how He loves when we learn to come to Him!

Think about it.

And by the way, please pray for peace.  Once again, let me say the world is depending on your prayers.  Please pray that mankind will wake up to the atrocities of war, famine, need.  It’s not too much to ask.  God surely has sent people with the skills and ability to do the right thing.  Please pray that people will wake up and finally do the right thing.

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In light of current tragedies


tree 005This is a wire Tree of Life shadowbox sculpture I did back in 2012 entitled Bayou Religion.  I did 3 of them.

I believe it is pretty appropo for today.  I hope you see why.  May they rest in peace.

Please please pray for peace, an end to violence and hate, and renewed hearts.

Cautionary Tale


Scary thing happened to me this evening.  I had to stop for gas at a truck stop near where I live and while I was at the pump, a man snuck up behind me and growled at me, which of course made me jump out of my skin.  Luckily I had my hand in my pocket and I blurted out “You’re lucky I didn’t shoot you!”

He just laughed and laughed.

Here is the worst part – his buddy, who was washing the windshield of his truck, said “I’m sorry.  He does that to all the old ladies pumping gas.”

Wait.  What?

This is a true story.  Of course, I realize that the most serious part is that anything could have happened even though the gas pumps were well lit and there were lots of people around.  Perhaps I should be more aware of my surroundings.  I thought I was doing a good job, but no, I guess not.  It was a lesson learned.

Now that that is over with, let me tell you about the elephant in the room.  There is something to be said about what my dear brother refers to as “Oldage”.   I have noticed that I get the senior citizen discount without any one asking.  I have noticed that when I see people I haven’t seen in years, they look older.  Even my husband’s dr. looked at me funny (after pressing me to get a flu vaccine) when I told him that I won’t now, but maybe when I get old.

Damn.  It sure slipped up on me quickly.  But trust me…I will not go gently into that good night!  I might look the part but I don’t feel the part.  I’m loving my life.  And thanking and praising God for all the blessings He gifts me with is the best part.

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Please remember to pray for peace, y’all.  And it might be a good idea to throw some praise and thanksgiving in that prayer for all the good Lord has done for you.  Gratitude never hurts.  Myself, I’m thanking God that my husband’s surgery was a success!  Also, that the nut at the gas station didn’t harm me and I didn’t have to shoot him.

God bless y’all.

 

 

GOD GARDENING ~ a personal experience


Anyone who knows me knows I love gardening.  My garden is Eden to me.  I have planned it to attract birds, bees, squirrels.

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I’m not really accomplished at it, not really a green thumb here as the compost pile can attest to. Lots of failures in terms of trying to grow something and having poor results.  I remember the first time I tried to have a pot plant. I was 17 yrs. old.  My first apartment was over a garage and it was so rickety the dresser mirror slapped the wall when a person walked across the floor. It was downtown Alexandria on Fisk Street, the rent was $40/month, and my landlord was Mr. T.W. Moreau. But it was home for me and I loved it. I wanted to make it my own by having a real live potted plant. I went downstairs and dug up some dirt, put it in a pot, and planted a piece of ivy someone gave me. First of all, Mr. Moreau wasn’t happy about the hole I dug, and secondly, I had no clue about a plant’s basic needs like light and water. Or potting soil. Funny thing now that I look back on it, I didn’t have a clue about a much of anything!

A lot has changed since then. I can call myself a gardener about as well as I can call myself a writer and an artist. I use too many quotation marks, commas, and colons. I start over with a painting as much as I have finished results.  Ha!  The painting I’m working on now, I had to wipe out 4 times before I got what I wanted and that was just the undercoat!  That’s just what I do. That doesn’t mean I have reached the pinnacle of what the world deems success, it just means that I have done what my heart desired. I have learned to nurture.  I’ve learned to garden.

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There are shortcuts to gardening and maybe everything else. I have found over the years that the rules of gardening correlate to the rules in life. For example, the species of humans must have community, friends if you will. Gardening is like that. All your friends want to give you a piece of theirs. You accept seeds or a plant from one friend, then another, then one more.  And before you know it – a little piece of all your friend’s gardens now live at your house. You water when it’s dry, throw a little Miracle Grow around when you think about it, pull a couple of weeds every time you go outside – then voila, people think you have a green thumb. It’s simply not true. You just have very good friends. My garden has my mother’s and Aunt Kat’s hostas. Faye, Sylivia, Deborah have shared a multitude of flora and fauna with me. Sue gives me a start of a Night Blooming Cereus every year. Every year, yeah, because somehow I manage to…. Well, I don’t even want to say it. I have daylilies galore. They keep multiplying, kind of like friends. A shortcut, but one with staggering success if you put your heart into it. My heart is into it because of my grandmother. She had a real greenhouse. I can remember the smell and her constant attention to it. It represented something akin to love and security to me.

Over the years I found that gardening is like loving God. Yes, it is. He who made all things. He who loves. He who nurtures. You wouldn’t believe how thankful I am for that! Gardening has revealed Him to me. He provides just the right amount of whatever is needed by His creation. Don’t you just love that? Please let me show you how He works this into our very own lives:

We’ve kind of had a struggle the past three years. There has been major illnesses for both my husband and myself. I have kicked it in the butt but my husband is seriously ill at the moment. We are two (barely) old folks who love each other very much, fight like cats and dogs (it’s in our DNA) and share every aspect of our lives. When I hurt, he hurts. When he hurts, I do too. Sometimes we have worldly needs that might take some creative financing. You know, the limited (barely) old folks budget thing because of medical bills, etc. Here is something I have learned; it is not necessary to worry about these things. Period.

A couple of months ago, I was commissioned to paint a picture for a Christian organization called the ACTS (Adoration, Community, Theology, Service) retreat community. To my surprise, I found it easy to come up with a composition reflecting the theme to match the future retreat for women as requested. Must have been the art angel sprinkling grace dust upon me. I don’t know. Anyway, I painted two pictures and over the weeks it took, I made it clear that this art was a donation to the community because my own spirituality had grown due to them. I love the ACTS organization. They are amazingly talented in revealing the love of the Lord to one and all. Finally the day arrived when two reps from the community, Charlotte Wasmer and Father Derek Ducote, came to assess my simple paintings and make a choice as to which one they would choose.  Fr. Derek asked Charlotte which one she wanted. She quietly said “I want both of them”. I couldn’t believe it and was so happy and humbled. We had a great visit for a couple of hours before they left taking both paintings with them. It was wonderful.  They gave me a beautiful card of sweet gratitude signed by several ACTS personal.  Before long, I got a text from Charlotte saying she left a love offering and I would know it when I saw it.   What!?   I found the envelope. I got chills when I opened it. I took it to the living room where my husband was lying down. I told him “you have to look at this”. He said he didn’t need to. I told him more firmly, “you have to look at this. I told you God would provide.” He took the envelope and his mouth dropped open.

Two weeks or so before, I threw a fleece before the Lord. If you don’t know the term, it means asking the Lord to provide for a specific need. I needed new tires on my car. I asked for that. And I trusted.

The envelope contained $400. The tires cost $398.

If that’s not GOD GARDENING, I don’t know what is!

Do me a favor please.  Will you pray for peace?  Please.  So much is going on in our country, government, world.  Let us all turn to God.

 

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Do me a favor please.  Will you pray for peace?  Please.  So much is going on in our country, government, world.  Your prayers are very much needed.  Let us all turn to God.

 

HONOR FLIGHT FOR VETS – THE UNDER APPRECIATED


Would it be possible for a daughter to be more proud of her father?  I think not.  I am proud to tell you that my father, TSgt. Bill Thoms Sr. (USAF ret.) was among 40 war veterans chosen to make an Honor Flight.  Veterans of WWII, the Korean conflict, and Vietnam war boarded a flight out of Austin, Texas on September 7, 2018, destination Washington DC.  The goal:  giving these under appreciated vets a chance to view, touch, and acknowledge the war memorials erected to serve as a reminder of hard-fought freedom, a service they provided with their blood, sweat, and tears.  Oh, I know that’s a cliche, but do you see the truth in it? Can you imagine what these men and women went through, what they saw, how they felt?  I can’t.  Although I was raised an Air Force brat, all I knew as a child was that Daddy was always gone somewhere across the world.  I was too young to understand the whys and wherefores but I do remember the fear that plagued the hearts of my older brother and I while he was at war.

Dad is a veteran of Korea and Vietnam wars. He offered 22 years of his life to the United States Air Force.  He served his country with an uncommon pride. He was a good leader and teacher who had a heart for the young airman he ‘sarged’ who were away from their families and were decidedly homesick.  He would bring them home on weekends and holidays to ease their angst.

Another thing about Dad, he loves his family.  His grandson Will accompanied him as his required guardian – as if he needed one!  (Even at 87, Dad is amazingly with it.)  It was just as important and moving for the grandson as it was for the grandfather.  How lucky was Will and what an awesome opportunity!  I’d be willing to bet these two share memories that will have a lasting impact on the rest of their lives.  No doubt, no doubt at all.

Please enjoy the following pictures of this dream-come-true trip made possible by Honor Flight Austin.  It is a privilege for me to share them.

 

 

 

 

 

Dad and Will getting ready to leave.  And no, that’s not a hat on Dad’s head.  Honored to accompany the Vets was Brian Manley, Austin Chief of Police.

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dad in the middleLook at these wonderful Vets!  Dad is the 4th one in the second row.

 

 

 

 

 

Dad getting chummy with the President.  The Air Force Monument, and the boys in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

IMG-1367 Air Force Memorial with the Pentagon in the background.  He served them and he served them well.

 thumbnail_IMG-1363              Dad proudly sitting in front of the WWII memorial, Texas pillar.  Too young to serve in that war, but proud nevertheless.

viet nam mem  The Vietnam Memorial Wall.   His opportunity to see it is long past due.  Bless his heart.

thumbnail_IMG-1373 Air Force Monument.  I can imagine Dad just about burst at the seams when he saw this one.  For many years the Air Force was his life.

tomb of the unk solAt the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Dad is the 3rd from the left.

Please note the link I have included.  It is from the Fox 7 news in Austin, Texas.    Really good viewing that shows the Vet’s parade, etc.

http://www.fox7austin.com/news/local-news/honor-flight-brings-40-veterans-to-washington-dc

AND THEN THERE WAS THE WELCOME HOME!

 

 

 

 

 

On the flight back to Austin, our vets received letters from loved ones and friends thanking them for their service.  Lots of love and tears were aboard that flight.  Once they landed in Austin, look out!  Please enjoy the following, it’s well worth the view.

 

 

I understand that all veterans deserve to be recognized.  Each and every one deserves to be saluted for their contribution, their sacrifices.  They deserve to be honored.  And by the way, I do include our men and women in the Middle East even as we speak.  I thank them all for their service.

Bill, Scott,and I, with our spouses, as well as all your grandchildren, want to thank you, Dad, for your service.  I do believe that serving your country was the most extraordinary and accomplished thing you have ever done.

Please pray for peace.  This blog post should convince you that we should pray and pray hard for peace in the world.  We’ve lost too many soldiers and loved ones.  It’s a sad, sad thing.

Eternal Father, we praise you for helping us get through these man-made conflicts that break hearts and destroy humanity.  Thank you, Lord, for these Vets who serve their country.  We ask, Lord, for your compassion and mercy for the days ahead.  We pray for peace!  Amen

GOD BLESS AMERICA

Please note:  Photo cred goes to Tina Lea of HONOR FLIGHT AUSTIN.

 

FAITH


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I’m sitting here on my back porch, relatively early in the morning for me at least.  You’ve heard the phrase “drinking in the loveliness of the morning”?  Well, that’s me at this moment.  It’s almost cool for the first of September, a little overcast, breezy.  I look at my flower beds, the pergola the hubs built for me, the wisteria that has decided after 17 years that it wants to relocate.  Hanging baskets on the porch.  Rocking chairs waiting for someone to put them in motion.  Wind chimes whispering, not full throated as they were designed, but quietly as if somehow they don’t want to disturb the peace of the morning.   You may think I’m nuts but I feel the presence of the Lord.  Yes I do.  Body, soul and spirit.  The love.  He is love.  It’s almost like heaven.

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I need this right now, this beauty, this peace, this love.  Isn’t He wonderful?

This morning I want to talk about faith.  I’ve been exercising mine a lot lately.  I’ve had to draw on it pretty regularly and I’ve come to think of it in a different way than I have before.  It was a remark made by a very compassionate priest to my husband while he was in the hospital this past week.  I wasn’t in the room but the hubs told me later.  Apparently, my man said something to him about me.  Father Bill told him that I have a great faith.  Who, me?  Hmm.  He doesn’t know how I really am, does he?  I don’t know the man well enough for him to see me in the throes of a tap-dancing fit, or having an all-holier -than-thou attitude.  Father Bill doesn’t know I am frustrated, fearful, angry, selfish, self-centered, my moral compass askew at times.  Trying to be strong and missing the mark.  How strange.  This man of God thinks I have great faith and my husband agrees.  Lord, I’ve got a lot to work on.  How do I live up to that?

I will say this:  I do love the Lord.  He has shown me His love by saving me from many perils; health issues, calamities, and indeed, from my own foolishness.  And you know what?  He doesn’t have to prove His love to me.  For heaven’s sake, He is God.  But He does, He wants to.  He envelopes me with His love.  He is always there when I need Him.  I talk to Him and I try to listen to Him.  He speaks to me through many different avenues – His Word, people he puts in my path, the beauty of sitting on my back porch.  Many different avenues.  I, the one who rarely trusts anyone, feel the pull to completely trust Him.  He has an uncanny way of revealing Himself to those who are open to Him.  I like to think I am.  I get in my own way sometimes and am not as alert to Him as I should be, but I try.

Is this faith?  Maybe.  But you know what?  I don’t want to have faith.  I want to be faith.  I want to have the fortitude not to ever doubt that my various situations in life are part of His will for me.  I want to trust without question, not constantly have to learn to trust.  I want to be faith enough to not have that knee-jerk reaction of fear every time my world cracks a bit and threatens to fall apart.  I want to be faith enough to be kind and loving, to help others find peace, to not think of myself first.  I am not skilled in any of those attributes but I’m trying.  It’s going to take a lifetime for me to reach that pinnacle, if I ever do.

Have you ever thought about these things or am I just weird?  Do you ever long to be as good as the saints and angels?  Here’s a news flash.  Those saints – most of them weren’t angels.  We just celebrated the feast of St. Augustine, that one was a real booger if you ask his mom St. Monica.  But he came around.  And he was one of the finest examples of faith a person can find.  (He learned it from his mom!) Amazing, isn’t it?  He didn’t just have faith, he was faith on earth.  The work he did for our Lord is incomparable.  Praise God!

Being faith as opposed to having faith is much harder.  But there is help.  You know Who.  Him, the kind Teacher, the compassionate Lover of all, the One Who is love.  The Object of our faith.  His offering to us didn’t stop on the cross, although that is the ultimate sacrifice and most important selfless act of all time.  He continues to offer us Himself.  He loves with abandon and teaches us how as well.  He never gives up on us no matter how wayward we become.  He offers us the gift of hope when we aren’t sure the sun will come up in the morning.  He has a plan for each of us individually, personally.  We just have to open our eyes, our hearts, our will to him.  We have to strive, not only to have faith, but to be faith.  One of the most marvelous things about God is that if you don’t feel like you can do this yourself, ask Him.  He will show you how.  He’s good like that.

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If you are a praying person, I have a few requests for your prayer list:

Please pray for the Catholic Church.  It appears that the enemy has wormed his way in, in an effort to destroy all God has built.  The Church as a whole will never give in to this.  Pray for the strength to oust this evil, to rebuild and to continue to proclaim the true Word of God to mankind.

Secondly, please pray for my beloved husband.  He is very ill right now.

Third, please pray for peace.  The world needs your prayers right now, this very minute.

Verla Mae


I find that having a blog is something like having a diary and making it public on purpose.  Sometimes it is hard to stay in the boundaries of what is ok to share with the world and what is not.  There is a fine line.   I get confused.

Today’s post is ok to share with the world.  Some might find it surprising but I want to share with you about my former mother-in-law.  She recently passed away and was laid to rest yesterday.  My hubs and I went to the wake the night before and I, at last, was able to introduce him to many of my former family, something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  My ex-husband’s family is large.  I was nothing more than an immature kid of 18 when I married into it.  The marriage didn’t last long but the relationships did, at least, I think so.  To this day I still feel a sense of family when I am around them.

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Verla Mae White.  1926-2018.  Her funeral Mass was beautiful, a real testament to the lives she touched and blessed.  Her pall bearers were her grandsons, my two sons included.  They were all so handsome and grown up.  And they were proud to lay their ‘Granny’ to rest.

She was a wonderful woman, married for a lifetime to Artis White, bore him five girls and one boy, and was a very faithful Catholic woman with a special devotion to the Blessed Mother.  She was kind, laughed a lot, loved to dance, and adored her family with all her might.  Verla Mae made the neatest biscuits.  They were about 5 inches across and flat.  We called them flying saucers.  Man, they were good!  I loved to watch her make them.  Her small hands making a well in a mound of flour, baking soda and powder, add milk, pull out a handful, shape and pat, pop on the pan and into the oven.  I loved them with jelly smeared on the top.  You couldn’t split them for buttering, they were too flat but they were delightfully crispy on the bottom.  Makes my mouth water to think about them.  There was only one thing she cooked that I couldn’t eat – baked chicken and dressing.  She would bury the chicken under mounds of cornbread dressing and bake it that way.  The cornbread dressing was delicious but the chicken had no color at all.  It came out as white as it went in and looked like – well, dead chicken.  My then-husband said it tasted fine but I couldn’t put it in my mouth to see if it was good.  I understand that she did change her way of baking chicken and dressing years later.  She didn’t have to.  No matter what she cooked everyone knew the finest ingredient she cooked with was love.  And many people loved her.  In fact, her family, meaning brothers, sisters, cousins, and their off-spring, often  visited her home knowing a good time was inevitable.  She had a way of making everyone feel like they belonged.  I remember in the ‘old days’ many weekends and every holiday was spent in the ‘middle room’ of her home playing music, dancing, and cutting up.  She strongly believed in family.

I can honestly say if it wasn’t for her, I probably wouldn’t be Catholic.  It’s true.  When her son told her he wanted to marry me, Mama said “she’s not Catholic”.  That sealed the deal and led to my baptism and confirmation.  Bless her heart, she stayed on her knees for her children and their spouses.  I could have learned a lot from her if I wouldn’t have been so stupid when I was young.  A few years ago, I was blessed to see her when I visited her church on a Sunday morning.  She told me then that she always has loved me and always will.  She said she never stopped which is amazing when you consider I left the family way back in 1981.  That was the way she was, the way she is.  Love doesn’t die, it doesn’t pass away.  It is the only thing you can take with you to the afterlife.   Maybe I can learn from her after all.

Wow, those were some good days.  Too bad I didn’t appreciate it then as much as I do now.  Of course, I believe that now is the best time of my life, but there is no harm in looking back and selectively enjoying what was.  Granny’s funeral gave me that, especially with all of my kid’s first cousins, the pall bearers.  It was so good to see them all together.  They still call me Aunt Nancy.  One of them even told me he had good memories of spending time at our house as a child.  He said I was his second Mom back then.  My heart melted, flipped, and rejoiced when he said that.  It was a wonderful revelation.

One more thought afforded to me from seeing this family in reunion was brought about by the sense that my boy’s first cousins, second cousins, etc, seemed to look at me with a different than normal intensity.  At least it seemed so to me.  I figured it out later.  Yes, I did and it was a shock.  Just as I had looked upon Granny, her husband, and her remaining siblings as being ‘old’, now too were the younger ones looking at me and my peer in-laws as old.  Let me say ‘older’ instead.  But nevertheless, we are next in line.  Oh heavens.  How did this happen!?

Oh well.  It is the way of life.  God’s design is quite complex with the end result intended to meet us where we are.  He knows how we need to see the past through older, more mature eyes.  He knows that age and experience tend to put down strong roots and bear fruit beneficial to many.  It’s kind of like “I am the Vine, and you are the branches”, right?

What a good God we serve!  Rest in peace, sweet Verla.  Thank you for everything and please give Him a hug for me.

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Please pray for peace, y’all.  The world is a dangerous place.  Storm heaven with your prayers!