Thursday, March 31, 2016

WORD WEDNESDAY - ...Sorrow and Joy

Last week's Word Wednesday ended with the sorrow of our Savior hanging on the cross.

As He breathed His last breath, the disciples were mourning and wondering what would happen now.  Jesus was "gone"; what were they to do?

Little did they know!

We who know "the rest of the story" may mourn the loss of our Savior; and cry thinking about "The Old Rugged Cross" on which He died; but we do have the knowledge of what would come.

I do cry every time I hear that song!  It was my father's favorite; and it always makes me cry (even now as I searched for just the right version).  But, it is also thinking about our Savior hanging there on the cross that tears me up; and knowing that he did it willingly...

For Us!  For You and Me!!

Though not worthy of it, He died a horrid death for all of us!

The disciples may not have known what was coming next; but, we know it isn't finished!  There is so much more ahead for all of us.  It is just beginning...

I read the following story in the Upper room devotions for Saturday, March 26th:

"When our daughter...was an adolescent, she drew a cartoon of Jesus sitting in the tomb before the large stone had been removed.  He was looking at a wristwatch and thinking, 'Any minute now...'  The caption read, 'Saturday.'

"Although that seems like a much too innocent view of the crucified Christ, it described the anticipation we feel just before Easter.  We who know the rest of the story can look forward to the joy and celebration of the Resurrection..."

And that is just what we do as we rush around preparing for the special events of Easter Sunday morning.  We look forward to the joy and celebration of Easter Sunday Morning.

We make sure we have beautiful new clothes and shoes; and baskets full of goodies for all of the children.

Many communities have Easter Egg Hunts on Saturday.  Even the White House has a traditional Easter Egg Roll with thousands of people attending.

Families plan big meals to share after Church, gathering in homes to celebrate the joy of Easter Day.

But, the celebration of Easter Sunday began with a discovery at the tomb:

"After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.  And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it."  (Matthew 28:1-2 NRSV).

Imagine how frightened the two Marys must have been!  The did not know what was happening, or what they would find in the tomb.

"But the angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said.  Come see the place where he lay.'  (Matthew 28:5-6 NRSV).

What a joyous discovery!  They were instructed to go and tell the disciples...we are instructed to go and tell the wonderful news that:

He is not here!
He has risen!

And that is what we celebrate on Easter Sunday!

Our church had a beautiful sunrise service, followed by breakfast, Sunday School, and then another service.

Everything was beautiful: the flowers, the music, the words shared by our minister, and the smiles and excitement on everybody's faces.  We even had the baptism of two of our youth!

What joy that followed the sorrow felt at the foot of the cross!

What joy that followed the sorrow felt at the empty tomb!

And what joy we all have knowing that the Ultimate Joy is still to come...

When He comes again to bring his Disciples home with Him...

Our pastor ended the service on Sunday with these words:  "Let everything you plan start with the fact that "He Lives", not only on Easter Sunday, but every day!"

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YES!  "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow...because I know He holds the future!"

Allelujah!  Thank you God for your Son who died for us on that cross so many years ago.  Amen!

Tuesday @ Ten - PAST

The days seem to just fly by, with little time to really write.  I always try to link up with my friend, Karen, but never seem to make it until the last minute!  But, here I am...

Be sure to check out Karen's Facebook group for the Tuesday @ Ten followers here.

This week's prompt is:  PAST

Do you dwell on your past?  Do you keep wondering what your life would have been like if you had done things differently?

I do!  Well, I don't think I actually dwell on it; but there are times I wonder...

What if I had gone to college - instead of business school?

What career would I have had with that college education?

Would I still be working instead of retired before even reaching 65 years of age?

Where would I be living?  What would my life have been like?  Would I be married?  Have children?

What would I be doing if I had not moved from job to job to yet another job?  Or, even if I had not moved from Georgia to Florida when my first husband and I separated.

Or what about this...

What if I had not opened that door to the person asking for help?  If I had just ignored the knock, would he have gone away?

Well, I don't like to dwell on the past.  I don't really like to dwell on that particular incident either.

But, sometimes the past just creeps into our head and stays there until we deal with it.  Sometimes the past becomes part of the present and needs to be worked through.

I don't regret the actions I took...

Not go to college?  I was so tired of school; but knew I needed a little more "something".  So, I took my grandfather up on paying for a year in business school.  I went a full year, but no degree!

Eventually I was able to get a job; and it took me into a clerical career that crossed many types of businesses from banking to insurance to church office administration; and has also helped in some of my "extra-curricular" activities like secretary and treasurer for our women's group.

It's hard to think where I might be if I had continued on a different path.  As I said, I don't regret my actions!  I have lived a very full and wonderful life ... with moments of not-so-wonderful, too.

It is not unusual for us to have those not-so-wonderful times during our lives.  It can't all be perfect, can it?

I have come to the conclusion that our past is what has prepared us for the present; and what we do with the present prepares us for our future.  It doesn't really do any good to dwell on our past, unless we are learning something from it.

What have I learned?  I'm not sure...perhaps what I just said, that our past prepares us for the present; and the present prepares us for our future.

What about you?  Have you learned from your past?

I know that everyone hasn't had an awesome past; I know that many of us have things we are still trying to deal with even now.  Everyone is different; these words I share come from me and my experiences.  They do not speak of what everyone experiences!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Simple Woman's Daybook - March 28, 2016

For Today
March 28, 2016

Outside My Window:  What another gorgeous day; and I am "stuck" inside with the chores!

Remember the two "buds" on last week's tree outside my window?  Well, here it is a week later:

Photo by BJLondon

I Am Thinking:  I do not like this "fixed income" thing.  Just when I think I have a handle on the expenses coming up, something else comes up unexpectedly - and of course we don't have any savings to pull from.

Should I look for a job to offset those unexpected expenses?  Do I cut back on things, like my crafting and attending retreats?  I just don't know what to do...

I Am Praising God for:  A glorious Easter Day; and thanking Him for His Son.  Allelujah!  He Lives!!

I Am Wearing:  A pair of jeans and my gray "Challenge Accepted" t-shirt from the "write31days" challenge October 2015.  And, the always-present crocs!

I Am Creating:  I attended a Prima doll class on Saturday and made four cards using the Sea Sallie mermaid stamp:

Love working with the Prima stamps and can't wait to make more tags and cards this coming the retreat!

A Few Things for the Week:

Monday:  Stay-at-home doing laundry and gathering the things I will take with me to the scrapbooking retreat.

Tuesday:  Mostly stay-at-home and continue organizing my things; but hubby has an eye appointment.

Wednesday:  Again, mostly stay-at-home; but hubby and I both have appointments with our doctor (just regular check-ups, but I always get the "sugar is too high" and "you need to lose weight" lectures while hubby is usually doing OK.  We will see...)

Thursday:  Hanging with my daughter for awhile; final laundry for the weekend; and finish putting things together to load the car on Friday morning.

Friday:  Load car with "too much" scrapbooking supplies and heading to the hotel for the weekend retreat.

Saturday and Sunday:  Scrapbooking; having FUN with friends; eating too much; staying up too late; having FUN...

I Am Wondering:  What to do next?!

I Am Reading:  One chapter left to read in Danielle Steel's "Mixed Blessings".  I will finish it today; but not sure when I'll pull out another one to read...too much to do this week!

I Am Hoping:  That I have a great time at the retreat; I am not feeling as excited as I did at first.  I had decided not to attend; but someone paid my way.  So I was sure it would all work out.

Right now I have so many things on my mind, I hope I can relax and enjoy the weekend!

I Am Looking Forward to:  I really am looking forward to seeing my friends and getting some crafting done...

I Am Learning:  What?  Not sure...but have been really thinking about a lot of things lately.  Maybe that is what I am learning?!

I Am Hearing:  "Unsolved Mysteries" on the TV; interesting, but just barely listening to it!

In My Kitchen:  Pulled hot dogs out for dinner; but not really "feeling it"...

I Am Pondering:  My worries and concerns and thoughts always come back to this verse:

A Fave Scripture Thought:  "Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." (Philippians 4:6 NRSV)

So, why is it that I always find myself worrying and being concerned anyway?!

God, you know my thoughts and my concerns and what is on my mind.  Please show me what I need to see...

And another week with the Simple Woman's Daybook has concluded.  Join me again next week for a new post full of more fun things.

I love being retired and doing things I want to do.  It doesn't even matter anymore that I don't have the money to travel; I am doing so many other FUN things!!

Don't forget to go to Peggy's blog and read all of the other fun and interesting posts for her link-up.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tuesday @ Ten - NEW

Holy Week has been busy for many of us; and today is Saturday already.

Never wanting to miss a link up with my friend, Karen, my goal is to get it done before it is too late!

Be sure to check out Karen's Facebook group for the Tuesday @ Ten followers here.

This week's prompt is:  NEW

"So if anyone is in Christ,
there is a new creation:
everything old has passed away;
see, everything has become new!"
(2 Cor. 5:17 NRSV)


"If the Spirit of him
who raised Jesus from the dead
is living in you,
he who raised Christ from the dead
will also give life to your mortal bodies
because of his Spirit who lives in you."
(Romans 8:11 NIV)

During the worship service on Easter Sunday, we had the baptism of two "children" (they wouldn't want to be called children at 11 and 12 years old).

It was an emotional day, with the celebration of the Risen Christ as well as the two baptisms into New Life.

The devotion I read the other day from "The Upper Room" says,  

"...when Jesus rose from the dead, everything changed.  In a similar way, when life seems to be at its darkest point, we can turn to God and experience new life.  God can continue to transform our relationships, sense of purpose, hope, and so much more."
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Sometimes the pain we are going through is just preparing us for the beauty of new beginnings!

The devotion continues:

"Easter isn't just a time to celebrate Jesus' is a time to celebrate what God is doing in us every day - giving us new life."

No matter what we are going through, Jesus walks with us, joining us on our journey to what is to come...just as His Father walked with Him.

Recently, I responded to a fellow blogger with these words:  "Jesus is certainly doing this with you.  He is walking with you as far as you can go; then He will carry you the rest of the way.  He bore the cross for us; and He bears us when we cannot take even one more step."

I pray that Jesus is walking with you in your journey, whatever that may be.

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Monday, March 28, 2016

WORD WEDNESDAY - Joy and Sorrow and...

Entering the Sanctuary on Palm Sunday, everybody was handed a small palm frond.  During the Children's Moment, we waved them joyfully as the story of Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem on a donkey was told.

The palm fronds were a symbol of joy, happiness, and celebration - for the crowds waiting for Jesus, as it was for us on this Palm Sunday.  Everyone was waiting for "the king" to enter, waving their plams in joyous excitement.

"As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road.  As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice..." (Luke 19:36,37)

Sometimes actually seeing something "acted out", or hearing it in a version meant for children, makes it so much clearer.  Our Children's Moment on Palm Sunday not only had everyone waving palm fronds; but as the story continued to be told, a few people spread blankets in the aisles of the sanctuary.

And, we shouted, "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!" just as they did many years ago.

What a beautiful and touching moment; and such a joyful celebration.

I am sure when I was growing up I heard the Palm Sunday stories; but I don't remember it being a major part of the Easter Celebration.

In fact, I don't really remember much about "celebrating" Holy Week at all until I was an adult.

Unfortunately, Easter has become too commercialized, like Christmas and other holidays.  We focus on the "buying" -  a new outfit, candies and baskets and little gifts; and don't forget the chocolate bunny!


We know that not all of the events of Holy Week are joyful and happy ...

Can you imagine sitting at the table with the other disciples at the Passover meal?  Do you have even a little idea of what is to happen to Jesus?

How would you feel if Jesus knelt in front of you and began to wash your feet?  Would you, like Simon Peter, try to refuse Him?

As we move through Holy Week, we find Jesus sharing the Passover meal with His disciples, when he says to them,

"I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer"  (Luke 22:15).

Jesus knew what was coming and was trying to prepare the disciples.

He continues:

"Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body, which is given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.'  And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, 'This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.' " (Luke 22:19-20)

And during the meal, Jesus did something else:

"Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him" (John 13:5).

Why would Jesus do this?  After washing their feet, with resistance from Simon Peter, He returns to the table.  And Jesus begins to explain to the disciples, first asking them,

"Do you know what I have done to you?" (John 13:12b).

Jesus continues,

"So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.  For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.  Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them" (John 13:14-16).

Jesus is preparing the disciples for what is to come ...

And what is to come is the most horrible of deaths anyone could ever imagine.  We don't want to think about it, even now.  Sometimes we skip right past the celebration of Palm Sunday to the celebration of Easter Sunday morning.

Yet, what He did for us is part of the Joy and Sorrow and more Sorrow...

And He does it  all willingly!

"The King" must carry His own cross to the hill where He is to be crucified; a perfect man, God's only son, who has done absolutely nothing wrong!  One who has carried our burdens to the cross and left them so we could have Everlasting Life...   

As Jesus hangs on the cross, darkness comes over the whole land until late in the afternoon...

"Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, 'Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.'  Having said this, he breathed his last"  (Luke 23:46).

In John's version, he writes,

"When Jesus had received the wine, he said, 'It is finished.'  Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit"  (John 19:30). 

And in those three words, the sorrow of "Good Friday" is apparent:

It is Finished!

But, is it??

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Simple Woman's Daybook - March 21, 2016

For Today
March 21, 2016

Outside My Window:  Another beautiful day, though the temp when we left at 9:00 am was only in the 40's!  We have been having some beautiful weather, and it did get to 64 degrees.

This is what I see outside my window: the barren tree is beginning to flower again!

Can you see the two buds about in the middle of the picture??  Other trees in the area have a few more buds, but this one is more shaded from the buildings.

I Am Thinking:   Of taking hubby and I on an outing this week...nothing major; just to a park and/or the beach across the highway from it.  May be one of the spring break outings?

I Am Praising God for:   The "complete joy" he promises us in John 16:22-24.  Check out the scripture below!

I Am Wearing:  A pair of jeans and a pink shirt; and, of course, my crocs.

I Am Creating:  Did not complete my Olaf die cuts...but discovered I was working extremely hard to complete a task that is not due until JULY!!

So, I am switching to a couple of other projects that I know I need for the retreat in April; and will finish the Olafs at that retreat so they will be done by July!

A Few Things for the Week:

Monday:  Celebrating my grandson's 5th birthday with strawberry/banana pancakes; then going to the Budweiser plan to see the Clydesdales.

Tuesday:  This may be my stay-home day; but I may go hang out with my older daughter so I can hear all about the spring break cruise!

Wednesday:  Scrapbooking with friends after we go for labs.

Thursday:  This may be my stay-home day if I do go see my daughter; or I may flip the days!

Friday:  Not sure?

Saturday:  Taking a Prima doll class in the morning; not sure of the afternoon.

Sunday:  Easter Sunday; church, then lunch with the family.

{And since it is spring break for my younger daughter and her family, some of these days may change as we plan more impromptu outings!}

I Am Wondering:  Does retired life slow down anytime?!  Do I want it to?

I Am Reading:  Still reading Danielle Steel's "Mixed Blessings" which I am even more certain I have read before and seen the movie!

I Am Hoping:  For more fun outings like today!

I Am Looking Forward to:  A "road trip" with a couple of my friends to the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot in Orlando...I think I have shared this before; but, well, I guess I am excited and "looking forward to" it!

I Am Learning:  Perhaps I share too much about myself?!  Maybe I need to stop focusing on myself and my issues and concerns?

I Am Hearing:  Always the TV!

In My Kitchen:  Time to decide what's for dinner!

I Am Pondering:  A comment that was made to me the other day; not sure if it was serious or just teasing, but has me thinking.

A Fave Scripture Thought:  

"So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.  On that day you will ask nothing of me.  Veryt truly, I will tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.  Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.  Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete."  (John 16:22-24)

Another Simple Woman's Daybook has been completed.  Join me again next week.

Tuesday @ Ten - WAIT

Writing doesn't always come easily or quickly for me.  But when I can link up with my friend, Karen, her word and phrase prompts help jump-start my writing.  These posts really stretch my brain to come up with something that makes sense...

and, sometimes it does!

Other times it takes me the full week to get a post written; and it may not even make sense...that is when I go back and edit!!

Be sure to check out Karen's Facebook group for the Tuesday @ Ten followers here.

This week's prompt is:  Wait!

Hurry up!

I'm not ready yet!

Don't leave me behind...

Please wait for me!

I feel like shouting that sometimes; when I am just not ready to go or do or see or...


There are times I want to hurry on with life and get to where I am going.  And, there are times that God tells us to "WAIT"...

The prophet Isaiah tells us to "...wait on the Lord..."
God knows what is in our future; what will happen next week or even tomorrow.  He wants us to rely on Him and not our own selves.  And, by following Him, relying on Him, we will receive what is necessary for our journey...

In fact, by waiting on the Lord, we will be strengthened; we will "run and not be weary";  and we will "walk and not faint."

Whatever steps we have taken on our own, without waiting on the Lord, will be "rearranged" to continue on the path He has set for us.  

Sounds a bit like we are puppets, doesn't it?!  But, I don't think it's quite like that.  He does have plans for us; and when we rush ahead of Him with our own decisions that are not lined up with His plans, He works with whatever choices we have made.

The closer we are to the Lord, the more we will be tuned into the plans He has for us.  By waiting for Him to guide us, we know our steps are surely on the right path! 

So, wait on the Lord.  Let Him guide us on the journey.