Gospel

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Joy In My Fathers World

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Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy.  Psalm 96: 11-12

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This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

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This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

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This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forgetThat though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.

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This is my Father’s world, dreaming, I see His face.I ope’ my eyes, and in glad surprise cry, “The Lord is in this place.”This is my Father’s world, from the shining courts above,
The Beloved One, His Only Son,
Came—a pledge of deathless love.

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We recently had the privilege of driving around the back roads of Southern Virginia with a dear friend we met in Florida years ago.  She is originally from Virginia and we spent a few days in her neck of the woods.  She took us around the surrounding area, down lanes and across creeks and up wooded roads.  We saw barns, cattle, fence posts, cemeteries, abandoned houses and mountains rising majestically in the near distance.  It was a gloriously clear, blue sky day.  We stopped for lots of pictures.

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I shared a few pictures with you earlier in the week, but wanted to share some more.  In thinking of the beauty captured in the photos, I was reminded of one of my favorite songs based on words written by Maltbie Davenport BabcockThis Is My Father’s World . You can go here to listen to a video production of this song by Fountainview Academy in British Columbia, Canada. 100_4358 100_4361It is so easy to become focused on the negative and all the ills of this world, but truly, this is our Father’s world and beauty abounds if we just open our eyes.  He has promised to be faithful to us even to the end of the age.  Instead of focusing on the evil and all that is wrong in the world, I want to focus on God and how he makes all things right in his time.  I want to see the good, the beautiful.  I want to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.”  (Romans 12:12)100_4405As Christians, I believe we have to accept that there is evil, we have to abhor it and shun it.  We need to pray for good to win. We don’t need to live in denial, but, we don’t need to wallow in the gutter of despair as if we have lost all hope either. We need to see with eyes that see Jesus,  hearts that love others, arms that reach out to help, feet that walk alongside.  We must delight in the beauty in our Father’s world.100_4428 100_4432“Though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.”  That gives me great comfort and hope. Let us open our eyes and see.100_4427.2 100_4370

Seeing in grace,

Teresa

Standing In Grace

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Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access through faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5 NIV

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May we find God’s peace today for all our needs.  The world may be swirling around us in all directions, but he is still our hope and his grace is sufficient for all that we need. He stands ready to pour all his love into our hearts.

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Thank You, Heavenly Father, for Your Grace.  We rely on you today to meet our needs and to sustain us.  You are our hope of glory.

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Standing in Grace,

Teresa

Prompted By A Sunday Afternoon Drive

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This is definitely my time of year.  I can not soak up enough of the color that is in the air and on the trees.  It has prompted me on a couple of occasions to wax poetic.

 

Still

100_3774.3“Winding Roads wrap around my soul like a scarf splashing orange and red Autumn. 

Fiery hues consume me and lift me up to blue heaven. 

I soak in the peace and am grateful for His art and how it hushes me. 

Hope breathes still.”  

TLH

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I ask my husband every year to keep October as open as possible so we can bask in the glory of the season.  He tries, but usually still books too heavily.  Yet, we manage to squeeze in drives here and there.

This past Sunday, late afternoon, we made one last trek to gather up what was left of the color near Cave Run Lake.  It was a gorgeous day and I snapped a few pictures as usual.  I thought I would share them with you today.

My camera simply cannot capture the magnificence of God’s paintbrush, but it will give you an idea of the beauty that abounds in my neck of the woods!

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MY OCTOBER “The wind sifts through the trees, harmonizing with the trill of a bird, not yet gone south. The nearby creek thunders through the woods with a mighty roar. October leaves dance, swaying from green to gold, dipping into amber and orange, blazing fire red against a scrap of blue sky that hovers just above the stately mountains. The sun warms the crisp air and I sigh contentedly from my perch on the porch rocker knowing that at last My October has arrived.” TLH

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Wrapping color in grace,

Teresa

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For the complete Prompted to Write Series that is part of the Write 31 Days of October. click the button to the left.

Prompted By A Girl’s Day Out

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I love getting together with friends for an outing.  My friend, G, lives in Ohio about an hour from me, so once a month or so, we plan to meet halfway for lunch, shopping, but mostly talking!

We love to throw some words around and let them bounce off the walls and back in our faces.  We can hold our own with the best of them. We talk about everything – food, religion, politics, teaching (we were both former teachers), former students, husbands (mostly ours), family – no topic is off limits.  And we don’t have to agree. We are free to have our own opinions.  But, if we can make the other see our point of view that’s okay too!

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It is a beautiful friendship that began twenty-two years ago when we both started teaching at the same small private school.  Being two of the three middle / high school teachers that year, we were together often (the other teacher was a man and put up with us).  Naturally, we would meet at the end of the day to compare notes.  Then, there was the conference that we attended where we were roommates along with my mother, who also taught at the same school that year.

On that trip we really bonded.  It wasn’t long before we started getting together with our husbands for movie and pizza nights, or going out to dinner or shopping.  We always talked up a storm while still keeping focused on the movies.  We’d give our opinions and our husband’s would just shake their heads.  Her husband started calling us Siskel and Ebert.  I’m pretty sure we could have given them a run for their money. Siskal and Ebert that is, our husbands have no money.

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We never tired of each other’s company and luckily for us, our husbands really liked hanging out together.  It was sports that brought them together (UK Basketball and Cincinnati Reds).  We have many happy memories of spending time at their place or ours.

Then, we had to move and break up a good thing. 100_3742The friendship didn’t break, just the amount of time we could spend together.  We’ve moved a lot, but over the years we managed to stay in touch.  When we’d be home for Christmas or in the summer we’d do our best to find a time to go visit them.   And, we always picked up right where we left off.

 

You can imagine our excitement when we knew we were moving back to my hometown in 2012. This meant we’d only be an hour away from them and could start having adventures again.  They could come here and we could go there and we could meet halfway.

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When we meet halfway we have progressive dinners.  We meet at restaurant number one for dinner and stay as long as we dare without getting dirty looks from the waitress.  This can be up to three hours.  We make sure to tip well to make up for the extra time.

After dinner we may go shopping at the Dollar Tree, big spenders that we are, and then we’ll go to restaurant number two for dessert, where we’ll again stay as long as we dare.  After which, depending on the time and our mood, we may move on to restaurant number three and have something to drink, or a snack if we’re up to it.

One time we hit Sonic around 10 pm for drinks and tater tots and we stayed until midnight. The guys made friends with the manager who seemed to enjoy our company and he didn’t mind at all that we were using his restaurant for a meeting place. So we were cool. Another time we went to their house fully intending to come back home the same evening.  At two in the morning we were still talking and watching movies; we decided to stay and crash in their guest room.

We love this friendship because we can totally be who we are.  There is no pretense or judgement.  Just love and acceptance. I’m pretty sure they feel the same way.  We thank God for them.

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This past Saturday G and I met halfway for lunch at a sweet downtown restaurant on a brick-lined street with wonderful old buildings. The leaves were softly falling and made a satisfying crunch under foot.

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We were early for the lunch crowd so had the place pretty much to ourselves for awhile.  We talked and remembered and shared from our hearts.  When the waitress asked if we wanted dessert (they sounded so yummy) we decided we’d walk around downtown, hit some shops and then come back for dessert.

Which we did. We found a wonderful quilt shop with beautiful fabric.  No, we don’t quilt.  She crochet’s and I write. We browsed through a wonderful little consignment shop and made a few purchases.  We walked around and peeked in windows.

Once, as we were walking,  I happened to look down and right there in the middle of Second Street was my husband staring back at me from a display window.  Well, not my husband, but his picture. 100_3737.2jpg I did a double take.  It was a display to announce a night of music in honor of volunteers, in which my husband is on the musical line-up. I can’t seem to go anywhere without him crashing my girl time.  Just kidding, sort of. He did crash a girls night out one time with another friend which is another story. Anyway, back to the walk.

100_3739.3jpgWe walked around and I took pictures of buildings and streets and steeples, then we made our way back to the restaurant for dessert.  Yes, it lived up to the expectation of yumminess.  Turtle Cheesecake and Reese’s Peanut Butter Pie.  We ate as much as we could, talked some more, then, we hugged goodbye and went home, all the better for having had a girl’s day out.  Thanks, G, for being my friend and loving me in spite of me.

In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and sharing of pleasures.  For in the dew of little things the heart finds it’s morning and is refreshed. ~~Khalil Gibran

 

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Loving my friends in grace,

Teresa

 

This is part of a 31 Days series, Prompted to Write, in which I write about the ebb and flow of life in my day to day living.  Please click the banner below for the complete series in this series and for more information about the Write 31 Days and others who are writing as well.

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Prompted By A Lovely Fall Drive

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Today’s post is Part of a 31 Day writing series where I will choose moments from my life and let them be my writing prompt for the day.  This one is inspired by a drive to look at the changing color of the leaves. Click the prompted button to see all the post in this series. (note: you can click on the pictures to see a larger image – just right click and tell it to open in a new tab so you don’t lose the page.)

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If I don’t have an opportunity to wander about on a lovely fall day to see the leaves in all their glory I can become a little frazzled.  I always try to keep the third weekend of October open, which is usually peak in our neck of the woods.  I don’t always win the calendar war.

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Yesterday, after a busy weekend and arriving home around 4 PM my husband graciously took me out for a little spin on our way to the church fireside gathering. Just minutes from our back door we had some of the most beautiful views I have seen anywhere.

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We drove through a covered bridge that frames a lovely country church and wound around a delightful ribbon of country road that had some lovely fall color at every twist and turn (and I literally mean twist and turn).

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It was a delightful drive that ended at a friends house where our small congregation gathered for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows.  Long after everyone else had gone home, my husband and I stayed around the fire with our friend catching up and watching the flames burn low.  It was a peaceful way to end the evening.

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(un)Winding in grace,

Teresa

Prompted By Beauty All Around

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Today’s post is Part of a 31 Day writing series where I will choose moments from my life and let them be my writing prompt for the day.  Click on the button to the left for the complete series.

Today I had a free afternoon so I walked next door to my parents to spend some time with them.  It was a gorgeous day so we decided to take a drive to the city park.  My father also wanted to stop by the site where my brother is building a new house and the farm to pick something up, so we went that direction first and ended our drive at the park.  I took several pictures while we were out and about, so thought I’d share them with you.

The view from the back of  where my brother's new house will sit.
The view from the back of where my brother’s new house will sit. Notice the water towers in the distance.

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Across the road from where my brother's new house will sit
Across the road from where my brother’s new house will sit
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More of the across the road view
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View over the back of my Dad’s farm around the corner (in country road terms) from where my brother’s new house will be.
Another farm view, big, black smoker in the forefront.
Another farm view, big, black smoker in the forefront.
There was one long orangey red tree at the park.
There was one lone orangey red tree at the park.
My mom standing under the orangey red tree.
My mom standing under the orangey red tree.
Part of the walking path at the park.  See, I told you there was one, lone, orangey red tree.
Part of the walking path at the park. See, I told you there was one, lone, orangey red tree.
more beautiful tree
more beautiful tree
Gorgeous blue, fall sky
Gorgeous blue, fall sky
More water towers
More water towers by the park (don’t think they are the one’s seen from my brothers new house site) For a small town we seem to have a lot of water towers.
Barn and silo in the distance that I sometimes sit and stare at when I'm at the park
Barn and silo in the distance that I sometimes sit and stare at when I’m at the park.          I mentioned it once here
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Leaving the park – Signs of the times – somehow the remains of the cut tobacco seem to be a fitting metaphor. Now that I think about it, the stop sign is a great metaphor as well. I’ll not bore you with my political soapbox speeches.
One last glorious shot - a close-up of the leaves on that gorgeous orangey red tree!
One last glorious shot – a close-up of the leaves on that gorgeous orangey red tree!

It was a beautiful outing, but later in the early evening I became a little stressed and frazzled, so spent some time talking to God.   I felt that I needed to be sustained and restored.  Sometimes, we let the busy and the interruptions handle us instead of turning them over to God. I often struggle to find the balance between what is needed of me and what I need.  Maybe that happens to you as well?

Sitting down to look over the pictures taken earlier in the day helped restore the beauty and during my talk with God I was reminded of these verses from Psalm 51:

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Sustained by grace,

Teresa