Monday, November 29, 2010

Friends of Grace

We have the privilege of visiting at least once a week with a group of very special friends. They are the friends of Grace Mission Bible Training Center. The purpose of this mission is; “Help for the Desperate, Those Willing to Seek Christ for the Answers in Their Lives.”

Our friends extended an invitation to join them for their Thanksgiving meal and celebration. It was a wonderful time of worship, fellowship and of course, mounds of delicious food. As always, there were many smiles, hugs and tears intermingled. We have a real connection and love for these very special folks. They give the best hugs and encouragement anyone could ever hope for. Each time we meet, we take away much more than we arrived with. They are so excited at what God has done in their lives, they desire to share His love and Grace with others.



Aunt Rea


Dan and I at Grace

We had other gatherings with friends and family over this Thanksgiving weekend. The Jackson family gathered today. It was truly a joyous time of thankfulness. Nephew Caleb has returned home from his second combat tour, Niece Abigail is graduating college this spring. The sole survivor of her generation, Aunt Rea joined us. It was such a joy to see her laughing. Everyone was happy, well and at peace and that is much to be thankful for. We also are thankful for the promises of God yet to come. He is faithful.

Caleb, Alan, Abigail, Dawn

Frieda, Aunt Rea, Faith

But most of all, we are thankful that all that gathered with us this week, are all friends and family of Grace. They each have received the gift of amazing, unmerited favor of Grace through Christ Jesus.

Today is the first day of the Advent Season. It is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birth. As we enter this season of Advent I hope to find a closer relationship, renewed excitement and thankfulness for the birth of our Savior. He is truly the Answer to whatever questions life throws at us.

In my anguish, I cried out to the Lord and He answered by setting me free. Psalm 118:5

Friday, November 26, 2010

Herding Cats

      Dear friends of ours are visiting family out of state over the Thanksgiving weekend.  They were brave enough to allow us to look after their three precocious cats in their absence. We have sticky notes all over, and friends reminding us not to forget them.  While we happily accepted their charge, we were not expecting them to be so entertaining. 

      All three cats have their very own distinct personalities.  Sassi is well named.  She certainly has attitude; almost to say, "Do you not realize I was put on this earth for you to adore me?" I have wondered if she might be a distant relative of Garfield.


     Rusti is the shy one.  When she is not hiding under the bed, she peers cautiously around the corner dashing from one place of refuge to the other. She is such a sweetheart. Occasionally, if you are very still she will venture over for a brief petting.
      Dusti is the clown.  She races to meet you and follows your every move.  She plays peek-a-boo from the plants (probably a no-no), paws at the water faucet and drinks directly from it.

Dusti's fountain

Dusti into the plant

    We pray our friends are having a wonderful time on their trip.  We certainly have enjoyed our time of herding cats!

       And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come:  Genesis 9:12

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Smiling Faces

Chips and salsa....Ole!
Soul mates ...beach bums...

Mom's apple pie....Julian Mountain

Family...SIS and BIL

View of the ocean at 6000 feet
65 mph winds on the mountain top=broken hair...

San Diego Harbor Tour

Mischief backfire...pecking on yacht window.Sweet little lady to Dan, "It's okay, you can
go in."


This is your Riverboat Captian Speaking

Up Periscope..I didn't see the mermaids!


The sounds of the ocean...

Dan walking bare foot on the beach

"Em are pirates!"

Our new Coronada vacation home!

Cool drinks on VERY hot day!

Happy Thanksgiving!

The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.
Psalm 24:1  nlt

Saturday, November 20, 2010



Misty-Riley's Mom
at his age

Riley, our four year old grandson, told his parents he was learning about “Thanksgiveaway” in school. Much of the sweetness of young children is their way with words. While we may see it as a mispronounced word, through a child’s eyes, perhaps Riley recognizes the true meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday?


We typically gather with friends and family on Thanksgiving. It is a season to remember and give thanks to God for all of our blessings. Too many times our celebrations are turned inward rather than outward. We (I) so easily get caught up in the traditional trappings; we overlook those in need of our comfort. It is tragic that holidays which should inspire hope and love are also the peak suicide season.

Today a group of friends gathered to celebrate the gift of life. Many loved ones prayed for years that God would bless Beth with a child. Today we held her beautiful infant daughter. Her parents named her Ellienne Joi, which means: "My God has answered my prayers."  Husband, Jamie, is being deployed; not great news to a new mom. This gathering not only celebrated her daughter’s life, it was a solidarity gift of faithful friends.

Beth and Joi

Precious gifts come in many shapes and sizes. A simple hug, a note of encouragement, an invitation to a meal or a sincere, "I got your back," can be a matter of life or death. It is safe and comfortable celebrating with a feast of food behind closed doors. I hope to adopt Riley’s attitude of “Thanksgiveway" and step out of my comfort zone and do more giving away.

     Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.  Proverbs 13:12

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Soldier Jack

Golden roses for the Golden Girls
      As planned, roses were placed in the ocean in honor of our aunts. We had different ideas from special memories of these two great ladies. Some remembered the love of purple and roses of the same color. Another recalled the joy of a favored Bird of Paradise plant. Very appropriately we each decided on an individual honorarium. Dan suggested golden roses for golden girls. Perfect! The vegetation of Southern California is spectacular.

Roses traveling out to the sea.
      The location chosen was the Oceanside pier. As we watched the roses traveling out to sea, we heard a quiet voice behind us. “May I share your bench please?” We turned to find a petite lady with a German shepherd. As we made room for her, she asked who we were honoring. She in turn shared that her husband and Jack, (his fellow serviceman German shepherd), came to that location every Wednesday. “My husband died and Jack and I still come every Wednesday to remember and pray.” She spoke in a trembling voice with misting eyes. Soldier Jack, in service mode guarding his mistress, was still but obviously sad.

Soldier Jack

      San Diego County is among many things, a military community. We attended Solana Beach Presbyterian church on our visit. It was appropriately All Saints Day. After worship, we lunched and visited Mt. Soledad. It is an indescribably beautiful place to honor our service men and women. I am ashamed to admit there was a time in my youth I had not yet learned to fully understand and appreciate what it represents. I have since learned how valuable our servicemen are. It is through their sacrifices that we have the freedom to enjoy the beauty of our country. They protect our right to free speech, even when those speak against and dishonor them. It saddens and angers me that there are people who wish to destroy Mt. Soledad and the few others like it. (I encourage you to view their website and support them however you feel led.)

My sister Doris and I on a very windy day at Mt. Soledad

     Today is Veterans Day. When you see a person in uniform, with all sincerity and gratitude, shake their hand and encourage them EVERY day. The same respect and appreciation should be offered to those surviving family members whose soldier has made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

Sunset at the Pier

      This pair of brown shoes is humbled and thankful!

 "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."  John 16:33
New American Standard Bible (©1995)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

California Sunrise

Sunrise over the Nelson's home. Tough life they have.  Sigh....

        We are back from our trip to the VERY sunny and warm Southern California. Our flight plan took us from Memphis to Los Angeles, city of movie stars and concrete, to our final destination in San Diego. The return flight took us through Salt Lake City. The bird’s eye view of this city was also stunningly beautiful. Perhaps Utah will appear on our “someday” list. From the desert, to the ocean and the snow covered mountain tops of California and Utah, God’s artistry is breathtaking. We marveled at the lush vegetation in arid places.

Sunrise from Doris and BIL's home.

      I know you all will be terribly disappointed I am not bombarding you with photos today. That is only because we dropped the camera into the ocean. Not a great idea, as brother in law (BIL) Mike reminded us. The camera is a goner, but the card was saved. I suppose that could be filed under good news/bad new for some of you!

      While we viewed more than one sunset, we only made it up for one sunrise. We had an early (as in vacation time) flight out. No doubt the neighbors were none to happy to hear us running around snapping photos at sunrise.
Almost looks like God's hands blessing the sunrise!

      My sister Doris emailed these last photos taken from their camera. I love my sister. She spoils me. She remembered I loved black forest cake and prepared it for me. Good excuse continuing my birthday celebration. We (okay me) ate chocolate cake for meals. Dan’s treat was Mom’s apple pie from Julian.

Andrea and Cade

     Along with my sister and “BIL” we visited with niece Andrea (she totally rocks-unbiased opinion) partner Daniel and great nephew Cade. The last we saw Cade he was just a toddler. When he saw me he said, “She looks really young to be her age.” No. I dared not ask the age his nine year old mind envisioned. The comment did boost his position to most favorite Cali relative.

Daniel and Cade

   You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.

Nehemiah 9:6  (NIV)